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Kosova Information Center News Release (96-10-26)

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From: Kosova Information Center <>

Kosova Information Center (KIC)

Daily Report nr. 998a

Prishtina, 26 October 1996

Fear of Escalation in Podujeva As Two Serbs Are Killed

The Serbian radio broadcasting in Prishtina, capital of Kosova, reported today morning that two Serbs, a policeman and a Serbian- run local administration member, were shot dead by still unidentified people yesterday (Friday) evening (around 22:00 hrs) at the Surkish village, near the town of Podujeva, north of Kosova.

The Serbian radio named the Serbian police inspector Milos Nikolic an the local employee Dragan Rakic as the victim of automatic fire opened at them. The two Serbs were reportedly in a police car, which at the critical moment was near the house of the Serbian police inspector.

The Serbian police was involved during the night in a wide-scale campaign in the region in an attempt to track down the perpetrators of the killings, the Serbian radio said.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told the Kosova Information Center (KIC) today that a convoy of Serbian police was seen heading Podujeva from Prishtina last night. LDK sources in Podujeva confirmed that shooting from fire-arms was heard last night at Surkish village. Several Albanians living in the area where the shooting incident occurred have been arrested, LDK sources in the town said.

Thousands of Albanian households have been raided on by Serbian police forces in the municipality of Podujeva in the past few years, allegedly in connection with arms searches.

Several Albanians have been tortured to death or killed by the Serbian police during house raids, routine patrols in the streets, or in police stations.

This past year has seen several shooting incidents against Serbian police facilities in the Podujeva municipality. One Serbian police member was shot dead and two others wounded in incidents which have to this day not been clarified.

The situation was reported to be relatively calm in the town of Podujeva today.

Meanwhile, a protest meeting of a number of Serbs was reported held earlier today in the building of the town hall on Podujeva, under the control of the Serbian-installed authorities. Unconfirmed reports said Serbs have called for the Serbian police chief Zoran Sokolovic to address them some time in the afternoon today.

The municipality of Podujeva borders on Serbia. Its population is 98% Albanian.

There is fear the situation might escalate in the municipality, as the Serbian regime has been in the habit of cracking down on the local Albanian population in a bid to pacify what it has frequently labelled a most 'rebellious' element against Serbian rule in Kosova.

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