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Kosova Daily Report #1658, 99-01-09

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 #1658
Prishtina, 9 January 1999

First Edition: 12:30 CET
Second Edition: 14:00 CET
Third Edition: 17:00 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] Serbian Army Poised to Launch New Offensive in North Kosova
  • [02] Serbian Military Pounds Half a Dozen Podujeva Villages with Artillery
  • [03] Serbian Military Launches New Offensive against Podujeva Villages
  • [04] Serbian Troops Have Retaken Last Summer's Combat Positions in Kosova
  • [05] Three Albanians Killed, Four Wounded in Serb Attack in Suhareka on Friday
  • [06] Young Albanian Killed in Unsolved Circumstances in Istog Area

  • [01] Serbian Army Poised to Launch New Offensive in North Kosova

    * Heavy Serbian military and police forces, backed up by scores of tanks and other artillery pieces, building up in northern Kosova, in the Llapi and Shal& e Bajgor&s regions; * Around 11:30 hrs today, automatic weapons fire was reported heard in the Podujeva area and a barrage of heavy guns fire was reported from the direction of Obran^& village, a couple of km west of Podujeva;

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian military and police forces, backed up by scores of tanks and other artillery pieces, have been building up today in northern Kosova, along the Prishtina-Podujeva road, between the villages of Lluzhan and Llapashtic&, some 12 km long, and Podujeva-K&rpimeh, some 10 more km northwards, local sources said.

    Meanwhile, yesterday and today, heavy Serb military troops have been building up in the roads leading to Shal& e Bajgor&s - a region straddling Mitrovica, Vushtrri, and Podujeva - where U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) units yesterday took prisoner eight Serb (Yugoslav) soldiers who had been shooting in the direction of the local Albanian population.

    Huge Serb military troops were heading from Prishtina northwards to Podujeva today. At 10:00 a.m, a column of Serb vehicles, including 17 army tanks, 3 armored vehicles and 7 lorryloads of soldiers, alongside with 3 police armored vehicles, and 7 lorryloads of police and 7 APCs, were seen at Vranidoll village, on the Prishtina-Podujeva road, heading north.

    Early morning today, at 5 a.m., 15 Serb vehicles trailing artillery pieces and full of Serbs soldiers left Mitrovica for Stari T&rg.

    Heavy combined Serb military and police forces have been reported deployed in the other communications link leading to the villages of the Shal& e Bajgor&s region, at Smrekovnic& of Vushtrri.

    Around 11:30 hrs today, automatic weapons fire was reported heard in the Podujeva area and a barrage of heavy guns fire was reported from the direction of Obran^& village, a couple of km west of Podujeva.

    Meanwhile, local sources said Serb police forces stationed in Podujeva area engaged in heavy shooting against Albanian villages for half an hour Friday evening, from 20:00 through 20:30 hrs. Serb police resumed the shooting at 5:30 a.m. today (Saturday), again lasting for half an hour.

    At 10:30 hrs today, Serbian forces entered the town of Podujeva, others headed north to K&rpimeh village. Ten APCs have been stationed on the town center. A convoy of Serb tanks was on the move from Podujeva to K&rmipeh village at the time, LDK sources said.

    The LDK chapter in Podujeva said some twenty other Serb tanks, APCs and other military vehicles headed late in the morning towards the village of K&rpimeh, 10 km north of Podujeva.

    Serb army vehicles have blocked the town center in Podujeva, while the Podujeva-Prishtina roadway has been blocked too, sources said.

    Sources from Mitrovica reported that 11 Serb military tanks and three lorries trailing heavy guns came from capital Prishtina and left at 11:00 hrs in the direction of Bare, namely Shal& e Bajgor&s region.

    Members of the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission (KVM) are reported being engaged in efforts in Shal& e Bajgor&s to mediate the release of the eight Serb soldiers took prisoner by the U^K yesterday. The LDK sources in Mitrovica said KVM was also in Dragobil, Malisheva, talking to the U^K leadership in a bid to secure the release of the Serb soldiers.

    More than 40 Albanians, most of them non-combatants, were killed in two Serb military offensives in the Podujeva area in September and December of 1998, respectively.

    Meanwhile, the Kosova capital, Prishtina, was under a heavy Serb military and police grip Friday night, with between 300 and 500 soldiers and policemen keeping Kodra e Diellit and a number of other neighborhoods under siege for several hours.

    [02] Serbian Military Pounds Half a Dozen Podujeva Villages with Artillery

    Bradash, Peran, Obran^&, Llapashtic&, Katunisht& and Gllamnik villages under heavy Serb artillery fire today afternoon

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - An LDK activist in Podujeva told the KIC at 13:40 hrs today (Saturday) heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police troops backed up by tanks and heavy guns have launched an artillery attack on half a dozen villages in the Podujeva area, some 30 km north of Prishtina.

    Shelling from army tanks is being heard in every couple of minutes, the activist said, adding that Serbs are pounding Peran, Bradash and parts of Obran^& and Katunisht& ('Velika Reka') villages from their position at Peran. From their position at 'Tabet e Llapashtic&s', near the town of Podujeva, Serbs are attacking parts of Obran^&, Llapashtic& and Gllamnik villages, west and south-west of Podujeva. Peran and Bradash are situated half a dozen km north of Podujeva.

    Columns of smoke billowing from the Llapashtic& villages can be seen in the town of Podujeva, where Serb forces have set up a heavy presence, too.

    Heavy Serbian military and police forces, backed up by scores of tanks and other artillery pieces, have been building up today in northern Kosova, along the Prishtina-Podujeva road, between the villages of Lluzhan and Llapashtic&, some 12 km long, and Podujeva- K&rpimeh, some 10 more km northwards, local sources said.

    Meanwhile, yesterday and today, heavy Serb military troops have been building up in the roads leading to Shal& e Bajgor&s - a region straddling Mitrovica, Vushtrri, and Podujeva - where U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) units yesterday took prisoner eight Serb (Yugoslav) soldiers, who had been shooting in the direction of the local Albanian population.

    More than 40 Albanians, most of them non-combatants, were killed in two Serb military offensives in the Podujeva area in September and December of 1998, respectively.

    Meanwhile, the Kosova capital, Prishtina, was under a heavy Serb military and police grip Friday night, with between 300 and 500 soldiers and policemen keeping Kodra e Diellit and a number of other neighborhoods under siege for several hours.

    [03] Serbian Military Launches New Offensive against Podujeva Villages

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - Serbian military and paramilitary police troops, backed up by scores of tanks and other heavy weaponry, launched early afternoon today (Saturday) an attack against the villages of Bradash, Peran, Obran^&, Llapashtic&, Gllamnik and the outlying areas in the municipality of Podujeva, around 30 km north of capital Prishtina.

    Serbian forces have been engaged in heavy shelling, local sources said. There has been no immediate word on the consequences of the unfolding Serb offensive operation. Still unconfirmed sources speak of killed and wounded in the village of Peran.

    Around 15:00 hrs, automatic weapons fire was reported in the town of Podujeva itself, which saw a buildup of Serbian forces earlier in the day.

    Around 16:00 hrs, the KIC learned that some Serb tanks had been moved from the Podujeva - K&rpimeh roadway to 'Tabet e Llapashtic&s', a couple of km south-west of Podujeva. This may indicate Serb forces will concentrate on attacking Llapashtic& village, where U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) has positions, too.

    Yet, heavy Serb forces continue being stationed along the Podujeva - K&rpimeh roadway, and they were still attacking at 16:00 hrs today, the KIC learned.

    Heavy Serbian military and police forces, backed up by scores of tanks and other artillery pieces, built up today morning in northern Kosova, along the Prishtina-Podujeva road, between the villages of Lluzhan and Llapashtic&, some 12 km long, and Podujeva- K&rpimeh, some 10 more km northwards, local sources said.

    Meanwhile, yesterday and today, heavy Serb military troops have been building up in the roads leading to Shal& e Bajgor&s - a region straddling Mitrovica, Vushtrri, and Podujeva - where U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) units yesterday took prisoner eight Serb (Yugoslav) soldiers, who had been shooting in the direction of the local Albanian population.

    The release of the Serb soldiers has been cited as a reason for the Serbian offensive, but the fact is the Serbs had been taken prisoner in Mitrovica area, not in the Podujeva, Llapi region, area.

    More than 40 Albanians, most of them non-combatants, were killed in two Serb military offensives in the Podujeva area in September and December of 1998, respectively.

    The OSCE verifiers in Podujeva area were ordered by the KVM headquarters in Prishtina to withdraw from the ground as it seemed a Serb offensive operation was imminent around midday.

    The Serb side was said to have issued an ultimatum for Serb soldiers, took prisoner by the U^K, to be released by 16:00 hrs today. The Serb shelling of the Llapi region's villages started three hours earlier, though.

    The local LDK officials in Podujeva called for international action to secure the withdrawal of Serbian forces from the area. They said there was a huge Albanian refugee population in the villages, in the aftermath of the last Serb offensive launched two weeks ago today, on Christmas Eve.

    The Prishtina-Podujeva road has been blocked today.

    Meanwhile, reports from Malisheva, central Kosova, said the U.S. KDOM head, Shaun Burns, was talking with the U^K leadership in a bid to secure the release of the Serbian soldiers. The meeting was held in Dragobil village, and by 15:00 o'clock the outcome of the talks was not known. The U^K was pressured upon to release the Serbs. The U^K itself demanded that its own soldiers, took prisoner by the Serb army at the Kosova-Albania border, be released in return, local sources told the KIC.

    OSCE mission blames "irresponsible acts by KLA" "KVM (Kosova Verification Mission) wishes to state that irresponsible actions by the KLA (U^K) since yesterday morning are the main reasons for a considerable increase of tension in Kosovo", the OSCE KVM said in a press release today (Saturday).

    The U^K refused to release the eight Yugoslav soldiers taken prisoner by it yesterday, "although an undertaking to release them was given late on January 8th, 1999", the KVM said in the press release.

    "KVM wishes to make it clear that it finds the reaction by Yugoslav authorities to these KLA provocations has been up to this point very restrained. The representatives of the Yugoslavian authorities have shown a willingness to co-operate in this present situation.", the OSCE KVM press release concluded.

    The KIC obtained this press release by fax at 13:59 hrs. The Serbian shelling in the Podujeva area had started an hour earlier, according to local Albanian sources.

    [04] Serbian Troops Have Retaken Last Summer's Combat Positions in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - Huge Serbian forces have reclaimed all their main combat positions of the last summer, such as the Kryqi i Belincit (in Shtime area), Podi i G&shtenjave (in De^an area), and Gryka e Carralev&s, local sources indicate.

    The Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement in mid-October had resulted in some Serb forces being withdrawn to Serbia and others to their permanent bases in Kosova.

    In the past several weeks, however, fresh Serbian troops have been returned to Kosova, and others in Kosova itself posted in the fields, such as Podujeva, for instance.

    Heavy convoys of Serbian military and police forces, in full armor, travel Kosova roads on a daily basis.

    Prishtina, the Kosova capital, was under a heavy Serb military and police grip Friday night, with between 300 and 500 soldiers and policemen keeping Kodra e Diellit and a number of other neighborhoods under siege for several hours. They were concentrated in the area near the students dormitories and on the Dragodan neighborhood main road.

    Meanwhile, armed Serb civilians, sometimes in open collusion with the Serbian police, have been barricading roads in Kosova and ill- treating Albanians.

    The German Ambassador to Belgrade, Wilfried Gruber, was held hostage by armed Serb civilians near Gra^anica yesterday, Serb daily Blic reported.

    The British ambassador to Belgrade, Brian Donnelly, was likewise barred by armed Serb civilians from travelling to Prishtina yesterday.

    [05] Three Albanians Killed, Four Wounded in Serb Attack in Suhareka on Friday

    Fifty shells landed in the village of Sllapuzhan, where most of the casualties occurred

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - Three Albanians were killed and four wounded as a result of attacks by Serbian forces against Suhareka villages yesterday (Friday).

    The LDK chapter in Suhareka said a six-year-old girl, Kujtes& Buty^i (6), died as a result of wounds sustained from ricochet in her native village of Sllapuzhan yesterday, whereas Feim Garip Badallaj, resident of Sallagrazhd&, was found killed in his native village. Of wounds received in his native village of Sllapuzhan, Osman Nezir Byty^i (65) died today.

    Four Albanians were wounded in yesterday's Serb onslaught: Isak Fetah Hoxha (42), resident of Bllac&, as well as Bajram Zeqir Byty^i (18), Fatime Qamil Elshani (f, 60) and Zade Gashi-Byty^i (f, 55), all of them residents of Sllapuzhan village.

    LDK sources said 50 shells landed in the village of Sllapuzhan yesterday. The population fled again this village, which had been shattered in the Serb summer offensives.

    The Serbian shelling of Albanian villages was apparently in retribution for the killing of three Serb policemen near Suhareka earlier in the day on Friday.

    A grave situation has been reported in the town of Suhareka today (Saturday). Heavy detonations were heard at 9:40 a.m. today. No details have been made available.

    Only Serb forces and armed civilians have been roaming the town streets. The majority Albanian population has chosen to stay indoors in this explosive situation.

    [06] Young Albanian Killed in Unsolved Circumstances in Istog Area

    PRISHTINA, Jan 9 (KIC) - Rifat Blakaj (20), resident of Trubuhovc village of Istog, in northwest Kosova, has been killed in yet unsolved circumstances.

    The young Albanian's family said Rifat left his home on Tuesday, 7 January, and went to the town of Istog for a bicycle repair. His bicycle has been found on the Prekall& upland, on the Gjurakovc- Peja road.

    The family had launched a search operation of its own, before actually being told by the Serb police that Rifat Blakaj was found killed in the village of Drenoc, municipality of Klina, and that his body had been taken to the Peja town morgue.

    The Albanian had two gunshot wounds, in his left chest and under the jaw, and his two eyes damaged and lesions in his face and hands, local sources said.

    At least ten Albanians have been shot dead in unsolved circumstances in different parts of Kosova in the last ten days.

    Kosova Information Center

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