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Kosova Daily Report #1438, 98-05-23

Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Kosova Information Center <http://www.kosova.com/>

Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1438
Prishtina, 23 May 1998

First Edition: 16:00 CET
Second Edition: 21:00 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kosova and Northern Ireland, Self-Determination
  • [02] Serb Forces and Civilians Set Albanians Houses on Fire at Dollov&euml; and Zajm
  • [03] Appalling Consequences of Serb Attack on Klina Villages on Friday
  • [04] Serb Police Ill-treats over 100 Passengers at Bus Station in Peja
  • [05] Serb Police Arrests Ten Albanians at Railway Station in Gllogovc
  • [06] Serbian Police Confiscates 35 Tons of Humanitarian Aid
  • [07] LDK Chairman in Suhareka in Serb Police Custody
  • [08] Use of Heavy Guns and 'Talks', the Double-Track Policy of Milosevic
  • [09] Two Albanians Killed at Zajm Village of Klina
  • [10] Albanians Houses Burning art Grabanic& and Bokshiq Villages
  • [11] Border Villages in Gjakova Attacked by Serb Military
  • [12] Border Villages in De^an Under Serb Artillery Attack

  • [01] Kosova and Northern Ireland, Self-Determination

    Who is the judge on the legitimacy of aspirations of peoples to self-determination and statehood?

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Kosova and Northern Ireland embarked Friday, 22 May 1998, on political paths with potentials for far-reaching implications for the future.

    Some have even hastened to brand them historical opportunities.

    Time will judge whether these two similar problems, which differ a lot, have taken the right course.

    In Prishtina, a process of talks on Kosova started Friday between the delegations of the President of the Republic of Kosova Ibrahim Rugova and the President of the 'Federal Republic of Yugoslavia' Slobodan Milosevic.

    The record of initiatives on negotiated settlements of crises in the former Yugoslavia do not give much hope for this process, the first one, to become a historic one. Who can say today how many initiated processes failed in Bosnia before Dayton.

    On both sides of the Irish border, people turned Friday to polling stations in huge numbers to cast their ballot on the fate of the Peace Agreement on Northern Ireland, "a truly historic opportunity for a new beginning", as the Declaration of Support of the participants in the negotiations says.

    The parties - the British and Irish governments, as well as political parties of both segments of the Northern Irish people - - sanctified in the Agreement the principle of self-determination.

    They "recognize the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland", the initial point in the Constitutional Issues on Northern Ireland reads.

    The people of Kosova have exercised their political will. With an overwhelming "yes" vote, they sanctified their desire for and commitment to an independent state Kosova in the national referendum held in September 1991.

    The 1992 and 1998 national elections only reconfirmed this independence bid.

    Kosova and Northern Ireland, lands severed from their respective Albanian and Irish soils, have had similar lots historically. Two ancient areas have for long been ruled as colonies by the English and the Serbs, respectively.

    At present, their predicament differs.

    The Albanians make up 90 percent of the population of Kosova, whose determined will for freedom and self-determination is opposed by the occupier, Serbia.

    The people of Northern Ireland have had their right of self-determination, including the right to leave the Union, recognized. There is not a majority at present that would vote for this. (The Catholic community makes up around 40 percent, the pro-British protestant community around 60.)

    The will of the overwhelming majority of people of Kosova for an independent state will prevail.

    This will will have to reassert itself even more vigorously, visa-a-vis Belgrade and the world.

    London and Washington (and indeed other capitals for that matter), which strongly support the right to full self-determination for Northern Ireland will not be able to play the devil's advocate by recognizing the right of Belgrade to put the will of the 6-7 percent Serb community over the will of the 90 percent of the people of Kosova.

    "We oppose independence for Kosova" - whoever utters it - is the most hated sentence for the Albanians in Kosova. It is cynical, too. Why should anybody from the outside be opposed to the will of the people of Kosova? Who is the judge on the legitimacy of aspirations of peoples to self-determination and statehood? ['We support the legitimate aspirations of Kosovars to autonomy, but we oppose independence'!!!]. Why should independence for Kosova be an illegitimate aspiration if that is the choice freely exercised by the majority of the people of Kosova? Freedom and independence are interchangeable terms in the case of Kosova.

    The people of Northern Ireland may have approved the Peace Agreement Friday, which will give them a greater say in their internal affairs, but also the right to stay or leave the Union and united with the mother land, Ireland.

    A process of talks between Belgrade and Prishtina started Friday in the Kosova capital.

    The future will tell what, if anything, this process will mean.

    What is clear is that Kosova has embarked on a path of no return towards its statehood. When and how this will be achieved the future will tell.

    [02] Serb Forces and Civilians Set Albanians Houses on Fire at Dollov&euml; and Zajm

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - At midday today (Saturday), Serb police and civilians started setting Albanian houses on fire at the villages of Zajm and Dollov&euml;, the municipality of Klina.

    "Dollova is all in flames!" a witness watching the burning village from a one-kilometer distance told the Kosova Information Center.

    Reports from Klina said Serb police and military forces equipped with armored cars and guns have been stationed between the villages of K&euml;puz and Dollov&euml;.

    [03] Appalling Consequences of Serb Attack on Klina Villages on Friday

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Scores of houses burned to the ground, others demolished and despoiled, two local residents missing, and hundreds of others fleeing their homes, is the outcome of Friday's Serb onslaught on several villages in the Klina municipality, central Kosova.

    The villages of Grabanica, Dellov&euml;, K&euml;puz, Qeskov&euml; and Bokshiq of Klina came under fierce Serb forces attack yesterday afternoon, at around 2 p.m. The villages were attacked with diverse kinds of weaponry, including heavy artillery, sources in Klina reported.

    The LDK Information Commission in Klina could not confirm whether there were casualties, noting only that no one knows anything about the fate of Brahim Uka (75) and Bajram Kastrati, residents of Grabanica village.

    The LDK Commission said that at Zajm village were burned down the houses of Haxhi Dragidella, Abdyl Dragidella, Miftar Dragidella, Haki Veselaj, Rrustem Salihaj, as well as the barn of Sali Dragidella. Many house were demolished in this village, whereas the police plundered everything they could take away from the houses of Albanians.

    While the village was being hit with grenades, Serb snipers who have taken up key positions around the Zajm village, shot at everyone who would attempt to run away, witnesses said. Residents of Zajm were able to leave the village in late afternoon when the shooting died out.

    It is supposed that many houses were burned down in the villages of Dollova and Grabanica as well. It is still impossible to know what the real consequences of Friday's Serb attack are, as the two villages are still rigorously sealed off by huge Serb military and police forces.

    [04] Serb Police Ill-treats over 100 Passengers at Bus Station in Peja

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Over 100 Albanians who happened to be inside the bus station in Peja and aboard a bus were subjected to severe ill-treatment and beatings by Serb police yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

    The chapter of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) in Peja said yesterday afternoon at around 15:00 hrs, the Serbian police halted a bus commuting from De&ccedil;an. The police forced all the women and children off the bus, whereas all the men - around 40 of them - were ordered to stay aboard the bus and were driven to the central bus station in town.

    Mustaf&euml; Kelmendi, teacher, told the CDHRF that he and other 40 men were taken to one of the passengers waiting halls in the station. At least 60 other men, apparently taken in the same fashion, were waiting there, the teacher said.

    The human rights council said that most of the men were beaten up brutally by police before being released. 15 of them were taken to the police station in the town.

    Neither the human rights council nor the LDK branch in Peja have been able to learn anything about the whereabouts of the 15 Albanians detained Friday afternoon.

    The LDK Information Commission in Peja could in the meantime learn the identities of some of the Albanians who were beaten by the police in the bus station yesterday, including Mark Krasniqi from Nepolja of Klina, Marjan Krasniqi from Nepolja, Frrok Kabashi from Gllogjan, Gjergj Kabashi (Gllogjan), Mark Tha&ccedil;i (Gllogjan), Agim Koci, a physician (Gllogjan), his brother Agron Koci, Ali Tigani (Kosuriqi), Bajram Tigani (Kosuriqi).

    [05] Serb Police Arrests Ten Albanians at Railway Station in Gllogovc

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Ten Albanians were reported arrested today (Saturday) by the Serbian police at the railway station in Gllogovc.

    Sources in Gllogovc said heavy Serb police forces raided a train commuting between Peja and Fush&euml;-Kosova (Prishtina) today at 13:10. The LDK Information Commission in Gllogovc said that most of the datainees were young men, as well as a mother with kids.

    [06] Serbian Police Confiscates 35 Tons of Humanitarian Aid

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Four tracks with some 35 tons of food dedicated to the Rahovec and Malisheva municipalities were confiscated by the Serbian police Friday.

    The food was humanitarian aid distributed by the "Mother Teresa" Charitable Association and dedicated to the many displaced people in the area.

    The trucks, which were escorted by five humanitarian activists, were stopped by the police at Prishtina-Shtime road. The drivers were forced to drive to Ferizaj and unload the cargo in the warehouses of the state-run company "17 N&euml;ntori" in Ferizaj.

    "Mother Teresa" Association said they had all necessary documentation and permission to transport the aid to Rahovec and Malisheva.

    A four truck shipment of humanitarian relief was confiscated by the Serb police in Gjakova earlier this week.

    [07] LDK Chairman in Suhareka in Serb Police Custody

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Uk&euml; Byty&ccedil;i, chairman of the LDK branch inn Suhareka was reported detained by the Serbian police today morning.

    While in custody, Uk&euml; Byty&ccedil;i was questioned about the LDK activities in the area, as well as about the half-hour protest rallies which have been staged in the town every day for over a month now.

    [08] Use of Heavy Guns and 'Talks', the Double-Track Policy of Milosevic

    Serbia steps up attacks while the world hails the start of 'peace process' in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Serbian military and police forces have embarked on a stepped up campaign of attacks on Albanian villages in central and southwestern Kosova in the last couple of days.

    This comes at a time delegations by President Rugova of Kosova and Slobodan Milosevic of 'FRY" met for the first time "to end the violence" in Kosova, as Western media routinely call it.

    Serbian military and police forces have left around 200 Albanians slain in less than three months in Kosova. Most of the Albanians - women, children, and elderly - have been killed in their homes although the Serb sweeps have propagandistically been pegged to "fighting Albanian terrorist strongholds".

    Aggression and state-sponsored terrorism against Kosova and the Albanians - this is what the Serbian forces have been doing here.

    You can't have talks and shooting at the same time, a U.S. diplomat said yesterday (Friday) in Prishtina after the conclusion of the first session of the Kosova-'FRY' talks.

    Slobodan Milosevic has been engaged in a double-track policy. He agreed to meet President Rugova so as to win credit by the international community on his alleged willingness to talk, while ordering his military and police step up actions against Albanians.

    This on top of the food embargo that Belgrade imposed last Friday, on 15 May, on the very day he met Ibrahim Rugova.

    [09] Two Albanians Killed at Zajm Village of Klina

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Two elderly Albanians have been found killed in their houses at Zajm village of Klina today (Saturday).

    Brahim Ukaj and Bajram Kastrati were reported missing since yesterday (Friday) when Serbs had launched a massive-scale attack on the village.

    The bodies of the two elderly Albanians have been mutilated, a local eye- witness told the LDK Information Commission at Zajm village.

    The villages of Zajm, Grabanic&, Dollov& and Bokshiq in Klina have been repeatedly attacked by Serbian forces in the past several days.

    [10] Albanians Houses Burning art Grabanic& and Bokshiq Villages

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - Many houses have been reported burning at the Dollov&, Bokshiq and Grabanic& villages of Klina today.

    Local sources said Serbian military troops advanced into Bokshiq from the direction of the Lugu i Baranit region.

    The center of the village of Grabanic& has been said to resemble the ruins of Vukovar, the Croatian town destroyed by Serb forces in early 1990s.

    Most of the population has fled homes, but the fate of many people who have stayed behind to defend their homes remains unknown.

    [11] Border Villages in Gjakova Attacked by Serb Military

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - At around 14:00 hrs today (Saturday), Serbian forces launched large-scale attacks against the villages of Ponoshec, Morin&, Smolic&, Stub&ll, Berja of the municipality of Gjakova along the border with Albania.

    The villages have been reported shelled with heavy guns.

    LDK sources and Mr. Sokol Dobruna, chairman of the local chapter of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) in Gjakova told KIC at 18:30, Serbian military forces had earlier in the day, through loudspeakers, asked the Albanian villagers defending their homes to give up arms and surrender.

    The Serb military attack was launched before the three-hour deadline expired, local sources said.

    As many as 40 vehicles and busloads of Serb police and paramilitary forces headed to the border villages earlier in the day, Sokol Dobruna said.

    He called on the international community to urgently intervene and prevent a Serbian massacre of Albanians in their homes.

    [12] Border Villages in De^an Under Serb Artillery Attack

    PRISHTINA, May 23 (KIC) - At 16:30 hrs today (Saturday) Serbian forces started attacking the villages of Prejlep and Drenoc in the De^an municipality, south-western Kosova.

    Serb forces used heavy guns from positions at a location called Lajthiz& which is not far from the village of Drenoc, LDK sources said.

    A local eye-witness at Drenoc told KIC by phone at 18:30 hrs, the Mazrekaj family compound at Drenoc was the target of the most fierce Serb attack. The Albanian family compound is near the De^an- Gjakova roadway.

    LDK sources described the situation at Prejlep "dramatic" in the wake of today's attack.

    The majority of the population has fled the villages, excepting the men who stayed behind to defend their homes, local sources said.

    Kosova Information Center

    Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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