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Kosova Daily Report #1657, 99-01-08

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 #1657
Prishtina, 8 January 1999

First Edition: 13:00 CET
Second Edition: 17:15 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] Sound of Heavy Detonations Reverberates in Prishtina Friday
  • [02] Several Roads Still Blocked by Armed Serbs in Kosova
  • [03] Serb Army Tanks on the Move around Podujeva
  • [04] Serb Forces Cause Shoot-out Incident in Bira^& Mountain, along Prishtina-Prizren
  • [05] Abducted Albanian Found Killed near His Native Village in De^an
  • [06] President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [07] LDK, PSHDK Call for International Community to Prevent Escalation of Conflicts in Kosova
  • [08] 3 Serb Policemen Killed, 3 Albanian Civilians Wounded in Suhareka Area Friday
  • [09] Scores of Albanians Ill-treated by Armed Serb Gangs in Milloshev&
  • [10] Serb Civilians Shoot and Wound Albanian in Klina Village
  • [11] Serb Paramilitaries Brutalize LDK Official in Gjakova

  • [01] Sound of Heavy Detonations Reverberates in Prishtina Friday

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - The sound of heavy detonations, apparently from heavy guns, was heard in the capital Prishtina from 11:00 through 12:00 hrs today (Friday).

    The Serb forces's firing from heavy guns was presumably originating from the huge Serb military garrison in the corner of the Prishtina - Fush& Kosova and Prishtina - Mitrovica roads, south of the Kosova capital.

    There has been no immediate word on the nature of this Serb operation.

    [02] Several Roads Still Blocked by Armed Serbs in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - All the four main roads linking capital Prishtina with the rest of Kosova and indeed with neighboring Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were closed and barricaded Thursday by hundreds of armed Serbs.

    Early in the morning on Thursday, the Lipjan-Prishtina, Lipjan- Fush& Kosova and Ferizaj-Prishtina roads as well as many other main and back roads intersecting the villages in the municipality of Lipjan, were blocked by Serbs allegedly protesting over the killing of a fellow Serb in the power plant in Obiliq the previous day.

    In the afternoon and evening hours yesterday, local Serbs engaged in a heavy shooting spree aimed at provoking the Albanian population in the municipality if Lipjan.

    The Prishtina - Ferizaj - Shkup (FRYOM) highway, at the crossroads leading to Lipjan, a town 13 km south of Prishtina, was closed off by armed Serb civilians and police till late in the night. Albanian motorists and passengers were routinely abused by Serbs manning the roadblock at this site.

    The LDK chapter in Lipjan said the Lipjan - Prishtina road is blocked today (Friday) also. Many local Serbs and others from neighboring areas have been gathering today near a gas station at Llaplasell& and in ^agllavic& villages. Other Lipjan Serbs have been joining them in cars. No Albanian citizen has been allowed by 9 o'clock in the morning today to travel to Prishtina. Heavily sick people have been turned back in the Serb roadblocks, too, LDK sources said.

    Reports from the village of Sllovia said Serb villagers of Dobratin blocked last night the Sllovia-Dobratin-Lipjan roadway. Serbs have barricaded the roads with agricultural appliances and put guards around the roadblocks.

    At around 10 o'clock in the morning, a group of two dozen Serbs posted themselves near a bridge on the road leading to Shtime and stopped and ill- treated all passengers, sources said.

    A similar situation has been reported in the direction to Janjeva, till recently a village with a considerable Croat community. Only Serbs are allowed passage. The Lipjan-Janjeva road is dangerous for Albanians to travel in.

    Albanians btualized in Devet Jugoviq and Milloshev& late Thursday Two Albanians, Idriz Veseli and Shaban Neziri, workers in the Beopetrol warehouse in Devet Jugoviq, nine km south of Prishtina, were beaten up brutally at 19:00 hrs on Thursday.

    Some 40 armed Serbs, in different uniforms, some of them masked, blocked the Prishtina-Podujeva highway at Devet Jugoviq village from 17 through 19:30 hrs Thursday.

    The German ambassador to Belgrade, Wilfried Gruber, was stopped for a couple of hours at the Serb roadblock there, too.

    Meanwhile, at a Serb roadblock at Milloshev& village, west of Prishtina, armed and masked Serrb civilians stopped, ill-treated and robbed Isuf Selmani, resident of Barileva village. He was on his way to Barileva, returning from a funeral in a Vushtrri village.

    Mr. Selmani told the KIC the Serbs hit his old mother with the car's door, whereas he himself was hit with an automatic rifle's butt about his body. He said he had his mobile phone seized, as well as 2200 Dinars and DM 100.

    The Serb civilians took his spare tyre and tossed it on a fire they had lit around the roadblock, Selman said, adding that Serbs thereatend they would liquidate him.

    [03] Serb Army Tanks on the Move around Podujeva

    They left Dumosh airfield, their temporary base, and arrived at 'Qershit& e Llapashtic&s' near the town of Podujeva

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Five Serb army tanks left the village of Dumosh - a sports airfield has been the base of the Serb army for some time now - and travelled the road to Lluzhan and then back to Podujeva, reaching the location known as 'Qershit& e Llapashtic&s', in the southern outskirts of the town of Podujeva, the LDK chapter in Podujeva reported.

    The location is near the scene of fierce fighting between Serb army and U^K forces around Christmas, when Serbs mounted a heavy offensive against a number of Albanian villages leaving at least 17 Albanians killed, most of whom civilians.

    Eye-witnesses said a Serb army bus run down a woman just before nine o'clock in the morning today. Her body is said to be lying by the asphalt road near the Sekira^& village cemetery.

    The situation in Podujeva is reported calm today. The road to capital Prishtina, blocked by armed Serbs yesterday afternoon, has been reported passable today.

    [04] Serb Forces Cause Shoot-out Incident in Bira^& Mountain, along Prishtina-Prizren

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Serbian forces caused a shoot-out incident at 10:40 hrs today at a location called 'te Qershia' on the Bira^& mountain, between Suhareka and Duhla on the Prishtina - Prizren highway. There might be casualties, local sources said, failing to offer any other details.

    Ragip Zekolli, a senior member of the LDK chapter in Sukareka, said wounded people had been taken to the town health center in Suhareka.

    The school at Bllac& village has been discontinued in the wake of today's incident.

    The Serb police manning a checkpoint near Ballkani factory on the Prishtina - Suhareka road has been conducting a severe check of cars passengers, the LDK activist said.

    [05] Abducted Albanian Found Killed near His Native Village in De^an

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Blerim Avdi Balaj (1972), a student with the Albanian-run Faculty of Economics at the University of Prishtina, was found killed Thursday evening along the main road to De^an, not far from his native village of Strellc, Sali Cacaj, vice-chairman of the LDK chapter in De^an reported.

    The Albanian student was abducted a day earlier, on 6 January, at 18:30 hrs, in front of his house at Balaj family compound by unknown persons dressed in white. A Serb police checkpoint is near the Albanian family compound.

    Blerim Balaj was apparently shot with arms fire on the head, his relatives said. They found him near a gas station of the village cooperative, where Serb police has been posted frequently.

    OSCE verifiers visited the crime scene, the LDK sources said. The body of the killed Albanian is reported still in the hospital morgue.

    [06] President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - In his first press conference this year, the President of the Republic of Kosova Ibrahim Rugova said the situation in Kosova continued to be grave and volatile. "We had a difficult time around Christmas and the New Year holidays in the Podujeva area" in northern Kosova, he said, referring to Serbian military and police attacks which resulted in "many killed and displaced" Albanians in the region.

    Unfortunately, "the cycle of violence is continuing, with people being killed in unsolved circumstances on almost a daily basis", alongside the systematic campaign of Serb police repression and arrests of Albanians, Rugova said.

    The President called on all Kosova citizens to behave responsibly and exercise self-restraint in the face of this grave situation. He called on local Serb citizens to cease blocking and barricading roads, as they did Thursday, when the capital Prishtina was closed off from all sides.

    Rugova said he hoped the full deployment of the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission would contribute to the calming of the situation, but he pressed for the commitment of NATO ground troops The President of the Republic of Kosova reiterated his position that an independent Kosova with all guarantees for local Serbs is the best solution, pressing for an interim stage international protectorate pending a lasting resolution.

    Asked to comment on armed Serbs' blockings of roads and the announcement on the formation of a certain 'Serb National Council' in Kosova - moves seen as very similar to what Serbs did in Bosnia at the outset of the conflict there which ended in the carving up of that country - President Ibrahim Rugova said he would not like to draw such comparisons, but added that "we are working to prevent that from happening".

    "Serb extremists have been floating such plans", Rugova said, adding that "they are out of question". This is the reason why he called on Serbs to exercise self-restraint, he said, adding that "Serbs will have to live in Kosova together with Albanians".

    A meeting of representatives of Kosova Albanian political parties may be held, President Rugova said in reply to a question, referring to what he called "the initiative of some political parties" here.

    [07] LDK, PSHDK Call for International Community to Prevent Escalation of Conflicts in Kosova

    "Like it or not, Bosnia is happening in Kosova right now", the PSHDK says

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - The Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), President Ibrahim Rugova's party, called today on the United States, NATO, the UN Security Council, and the European Union, to "undertake firm steps to stop the dangerous trend of Serb provocations which threatens to escalate into a conflict of even greater tragic consequences".

    A similar plea was made by the other Albanian party, the Prishtina- based Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosova (PSHDK).

    Local Serbs have stepped up their campaign of shooting sprees in towns, and barricading the roads in Kosova, holding the capital Prishtina under siege, the LDK said in a statement today, calling this "part of the now notorious Serb strategy that caused bloody wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosova".

    The Belgrade regime should be forced to comply with the Holbrooke- Milosevic agreements, as well as the agreements with NATO and OSCE, "which have created the concept that the Kosova crisis be resolved through negotiations and in the presence of the international community", the LDK said.

    Serbia has been building up its armed presence in Kosova, bringing in new troops on a daily basis, in clear violation to the above- mentioned agreements, the main Kosovar political force said. The holding of Albanian settlements under Serb siege as well as the permanent Serb regime- instigated provocations resulting in unsolved killings of Albanian citizens undermine efforts to secure a peaceful and political resolution to the Kosova issue, the LDK said.

    Meanwhile, the Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosova (PSHDK), said the blocking of the main roads by Serbian paramilitaries came as no surprise. "This have been well-prepared in advance", the party said, slamming the international community's silence. This silence over the Serb provocations is hard to understand, the party said, adding that "the Serb extremist actions are being carried under the very nose of international verifiers".

    "Like it or not, Bosnia is happening in Kosova right now", the PSHDK said, criticizing those who have been saying they would not allow a second Bosnia.

    Serbia is openly building up its army presence in Kosova in preparation of new offensives, the PSHDK said in its statement, denouncing the Christmas crackdown on the Podujeva villages and the blocking of roads in Kosova in the past couple of days.

    [08] 3 Serb Policemen Killed, 3 Albanian Civilians Wounded in Suhareka Area Friday

    Serbian forces started shelling the village of Sllapuzhan at 14:30 hrs today, the LDK chapter said. A child was reported wounded, and the population fleeing the village, it added

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Serbian forces were involved in a shoot- out incident at 10:40 hrs today at a location called 'te Qershia' on the Bira^& mountain, between Suhareka and Duhla on the Prishtina - Prizren highway, sources said.

    Local Albanian sources claimed the Serb forces had provoked the incident, which resulted in casualties, but failed to say how it happened.

    According to a spokesman for the OSCE KVM two Serb policemen were killed and three civilians wounded. The policemen were in two armoured cars, and the civilians were in a taxi car.

    The KVM helped in getting a wounded policeman and the civilians to hospital.

    Meanwhile, Ragip Zekolli, secretary of the LDK chapter in Suhareka, said two passengers, Muhamet Bafti Jasharaj (49), resident of Sopij& village, a taxi driver, and his co-traveller, Gani Sadri Ahmetaj (56), resident of Korish& village of Prizren, who was on his way to the airport, were wounded in the shooting incident.

    Several hours after the incident took place, arms shooting could be heard in the Bira^& mountains.

    The Albanian population of the surrounding villages - Sllapuzhan, Duh&l, Bllac& and Peqan - fears the situation will escalate, the LDK said early in the afternoon.

    A group of Serb women took to the streets in the town of Suhareka in protest at 13:30 hrs today. They blocked a road, sources said.

    Latest reports: three Serb policemen killed, two Albanian civilians wounded, one of them seriously The wounded Albanian, Gani Ahmetaj (56), was on his way to Switzerland, where he lives as a pensioner, the LDK chapter in Prizren said Friday afternoon. He and Muhamet Jashari are being treated in the Prizren hospital, it added.

    Three Serb policemen died at Bira^& shooting incident today, the LDK chapter in Prizren said. The Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) said the bodies of three policemen were taken to the Prizren hospital morgue.

    The CDHRF said in a press release Friday afternoon, "four wounded Serb policemen, one of them in a critical condition, are being treated in the Prizren hospital". It did not specify as to where the four Serb policemen had been wounded.

    Serbian forces started shelling the village of Sllapuzhan at 14:30 hrs today, the LDK chapter said. A child has been wounded, and the population has been fleeing the village, it added.

    [09] Scores of Albanians Ill-treated by Armed Serb Gangs in Milloshev&

    Blast in Albanian billiard club in Doganaj village

    PRISHTINA, Jan 7 (KIC) - The armed Serbs who blocked the Mitrovica- - Prishtina road at Milloshev& village on Thursday afternoon were not only local people, but also Serbs from Belgrade and refugees from Krajina, LDK sources said. It is suspected that they were joined also by members of Arkan's paramilitary gang. The notorious Serb criminal has family ties in the village of Milloshev&, sources said.

    The Mitrovica-Prishtina road was blocked by Serbs all night, during which time many Albanians, including workers returning home, were ill-treated. Buses were stopped and commuters taken out and beaten up, the LDK sources said, naming the people who were repressed by Serb gangs.

    Many residents of Mitrovica were amongst the ill-treated. Naser Kolica (42), resident of Peja, who works as a goldsmith in Mitrovica, was beaten up unconscious. Other Albanians were being ill-treated alongside him, he said.

    Serb civilians engaged in a shooting spree Thursday evening in three Mitrovica neighborhoods, LDK sources said.

    Armed Serb civilians broke into and looted the "Gresa" restaurant in Kishnica, whose proprietor is Naim Gashi. Part of the furniture was smashed up, the Albanian said.

    An explosive device blasted Thursday, at 22:00 hrs, in a billiard club, owned by Sadush Jashari, at Doganaj village. There was material damage, but no injuries were reported, LDK sources in Ferizaj said. A tense situation has been reported in the municipality of Ferizaj today.

    Meanwhile, LDK sources said Serb forces have shot in the direction of Albanian villages in the municipality of Obiliq in the past three days. Tens of Albanians have been reported ill-treated by police in the villages of Palaj ('Vodica') and Hamidi.

    [10] Serb Civilians Shoot and Wound Albanian in Klina Village

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Armed civilians shot and wounded Wednesday Murat Jakupi in his native village of Shtupel of Klina municipality, local LDK sources said.

    The Albanian was shot and wounded by Serb villagers of Shtupel.

    On Tuesday, armed Serb civilians and policemen burned the house of Sejdi Morina in the village of Grabanic&, the LDK chapter in Klina said. Morina's house had been looted during the summer Serb offensive in the area.

    Serbian police has stepped up its patrols on the streets of the small town of Klina today. A number of armored vehicles have been stationed in front of the Serb police station in the town, the LDK chapter said.

    [11] Serb Paramilitaries Brutalize LDK Official in Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - Today (Friday) morning, near the "Gjateks" textile factory in Gjakova, three Serb paramilitaries stopped Ramiz Bellanica, member of the LDK chapter presidency in Gjakova, and beat him up brutally, LDK sources said.

    In the end, Serb paramilitaries left a piece of paper in Bellanica's pocket, reading: "This is the first warning, comrade 'N'. If you continue doing dirty work by assisting terrorists, the final warning - liquidation - will ensue". The text was signed with "The Movement for Serbia".

    A tense situation has been reported in the town of Gjakova today, with police manning random checkpoints ill-treating Albanians.

    In the village of Demjan, Serb military forces have been ill- treating scores of Albanian residents, the LDK chapter in Gjakova said.

    Kosova Information Center

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