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Kosova Daily Report #1675, 99-01-27

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 #1675
Prishtina, 27 January 1999

First Edition: 10:30 CET
Second Edition: 16:30 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] Serbian Military Launches Artillery Attack against Albanian Villages in Podujeva Area
  • [02] Serbian Military Shells Albanian Villages in Podujeva Area
  • [03] President Clinton Authorizes up to $25 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Kosova
  • [04] Evidence on the Bodies of Albanians May Have Been Tampered With
  • [05] Serb Official Lies: Albanians Killed in Rakovin& Died in Traffic Accident!
  • [06] Serbian Forces Crack down on Albanians in Vushtrri, Klina, Gjakova
  • [07] Body Found Near Shupkovc Village of Mitrovica

  • [01] Serbian Military Launches Artillery Attack against Albanian Villages in Podujeva Area

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police forces launched early in the morning today (Wednesday) an artillery attack against a number of villages in the Podujeva area, north of the capital Prishtina, local sources said.

    The Serb onslaught against the villages of Lup^ and Majac, ten miles north of Prishtina, was kicked off at 06:00 CET., to only be extended a bit later to the villages northwards - Lluzhan, Buric&, Gllamnik, Llapashtic&, Peran and Obran^&.

    Around 9:30 CET, houses were reported trembling in the town of Podujeva, 30 km north of Prishtina, from the heavy Serbian shelling of the area west of the Prishtina-Podujeva highway.

    Schools have been closed today in Podujeva, and there is only a restricted movement of citizens in the town of some 20,000, 99 percent of whom Albanians.

    Serbian tanks and other heavy combat equipment left the Dumosh airfield, southeast of Podujeva, and headed towards the area of attack overnight, local sources said.

    Serbs have massed troops and tanks in the northern Llapi region of Kosova, whose administrative capital is Podujeva, in the past month.

    Serbian military and paramilitary police launched a four-day offensive in Llapi region around Christmas, which left at least 18 Albanians killed, most of whom noncombatants.

    On 9 January, Serb forces renewed their attack in the area, despite assertions that a truce had been established under the mediation of the OSCE KVM to restore the October cease-fire.

    Local Albanian resistance forces, the Kosova Liberation Army (U^K), put up strong resistance to the Serb aggressor army and paramilitary police in the last two offensives around the New Year, as well as an earlier offensive, last September.

    [02] Serbian Military Shells Albanian Villages in Podujeva Area

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police forces launched early in the morning today (Wednesday) an artillery attack against a number of villages in the Podujeva area, north of the capital Prishtina, local sources said.

    The Serb onslaught against the villages of Lup^ and Majac, ten miles north of Prishtina, was kicked off at 06:00 CET., to only be extended a bit later to the villages northwards - Lluzhan, Buric&, Gllamnik, Llapashtic&, Peran and Obran^&.

    Around 9:30 CET, houses were reported trembling in the town of Podujeva, 30 km north of Prishtina, from the heavy Serbian shelling of the area west of the Prishtina-Podujeva highway.

    Schools have been closed today in Podujeva, and there is only a restricted movement of citizens in the town of some 20,000, 99 percent of whom Albanians.

    Serbian tanks and other heavy combat equipment left the Dumosh airfield, southeast of Podujeva, and headed towards the area of attack overnight, local sources said.

    Serbs have massed troops and tanks in the northern Llapi region of Kosova, whose administrative capital is Podujeva, in the past month.

    Serbian military and paramilitary police launched a four-day offensive in Llapi region around Christmas, which left at least 18 Albanians killed, most of whom noncombatants.

    On 9 January, Serb forces renewed their attack in the area, despite assertions that a truce had been established under the mediation of the OSCE KVM to restore the October cease-fire.

    Local Albanian resistance forces, the Kosova Liberation Army (U^K), put up strong resistance to the Serb aggressor army and paramilitary police in the last two offensives around the New Year, as well as an earlier offensive, last September.

    Latest report: Serb shelling continuing in the afternoon Local LDK sources told the KIC around 13:00 CET the Serb shelling was more intensively directed at the villages of Lup^, Majac, Shakovic&, Buric&, and Konushevc.

    There has been no immediate word on casualties.

    The Albanian population of the attacked area has fled to the relative safety in the town of Podujeva and in outlying villages.

    The refugee population faces a humanitarian catastrophe unless NGOs are able to offer them badly needed help, the LDK chapter in Podujeva said.

    [03] President Clinton Authorizes up to $25 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Kosova

    The White House had issued a similar presidential determination in September 1998

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - The White House released a Presidential Determination January 26 authorizing up to $25 million in aid "to meet the urgent and unexpected needs of refugees, displaced persons, conflict victims, and other persons at risk due to the Kosovo crisis."

    President Clinton determined that "it is important to the [U.S.] national interests that up to $25 million be made available from the US Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to meet the urgent and unexpected needs of refugees and migrants."

    In the Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the White House said "these funds may be used, as appropriate, to provide contributions to international and nongovernmental organizations".

    The Secretary of State is "authorized and directed to inform the appropriate committees of the Congress of this determination and the use of funds under this authority, and to arrange for the publication of this determination in the Federal Register".

    In a similar presidential determination, President Clinton authorized September 9, 1998, $20 million in aid to meet the urgent and unexpected needs of refugees, displaced persons, conflict victims, and other persons at risk due to the Kosova crisis.

    Some $11 million in emergency assistance had been already provided to Kosova by then.

    [04] Evidence on the Bodies of Albanians May Have Been Tampered With

    Says Finnish forensics expert, Helena Ranta

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - Finnish forensic experts investigating how 45 ethnic Albanian villagers were killed in Re^ak on 15 January may be unable to determine whether they were massacred or shot in battle because of the possibility of evidence- tampering, the lead pathologist said Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

    Ambassador William Walker, the head of the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission (KVM), accused Yugoslav security forces of killing the civilians and called the slayings a massacre.

    Helen Ranta, the chief of the Finnish forensic team examining the bodies of the Albanians, stressed Tuesday that she was not accusing anyone of tampering with the bodies, but said the possibility could not be ruled out.

    The bodies, including a boy and three women, were moved without supervision - first by ethnic Albanians to a mosque in Re^ak and later by Serb police to the Prishtina morgue. In addition, Ranta said Yugoslav authorities had already conducted autopsies on about a third of the bodies before her team arrived.

    "The problem as we see it, it is difficult to reconstruct the 'chain of custody' over the bodies," Ranta was quoted as saying.

    "There is a possibility of contamination and a possibility of fabrication of evidence."

    Ranta said some of the bodies tested positive on paraffin tests, indicating they may have fired a weapon.

    But paraffin tests are widely discounted in U.S. courts because tobacco and fertilizers often give the same results as gunpowder, the AP writes, recalling that the dead were mostly farmers in a region where smoking is nearly universal among Albanian males.

    The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, Louise Arbour, said last week she would take very seriously any evidence of tampering with the bodies. She said such an act could be seen as displaying "consciousness of guilt" by the perpetrator, AP recalls.

    Yugoslav authorities have permitted the Finnish team to examine the bodies, but have refused to permit the U.N. war crimes tribunal to conduct an on- site investigation.

    The Presidency of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), President Ibrahim Rugova's party, said in a press release on Tuesday "justice cannot be done by making unprincipled concessions to the Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces".

    "The investigation of the war crimes by the Hague Tribunal is a legitimate demand made by the international institutions, and, as such, it should be implemented fully", the LDK said.

    "The investigation of the Albanians massacred in Re^ak is being carried by a Finnish team, together with Serbs and others chosen [by the Serb regime]. Replacing the expertise of the Hague Tribunal for War Crimes with individuals and institutions preferred by the Serb regime is unacceptable", the LDK presidency concluded.

    [05] Serb Official Lies: Albanians Killed in Rakovin& Died in Traffic Accident!

    The five Albanians, including two children and a woman, had in fact been killed by large caliber weapons

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - The five Albanians - two men, a woman, and two children - killed by Serbian forces Sunday evening in Rakovin& village of Gjakova. Shaban Taf& Kelmendi (45) and his two sons, Haxhi (11) and Besim (12), as well as husband and wife Hysen Kurti (40) and Sanije Kurti (30) were killed in a tractor wagon.

    They were on their way to C&rmjan village of Gjakova, and were hit while doing some fixing in the tractor, sources said.

    The bodies of the killed Albanians were taken to the Gjakova morgue on Monday, and transferred by the Serb police to the Prishtina morgue on Tuesday.

    The bodies found Monday appeared to have been shot several times at close range, the Associated Press said, adding that two victims, the husband and wife, were found slumped in the cab, whereas on the trailer piled with hay and grain lay the bodies of a father and his two sons, about 10 and 12 years old. "The faces of all three were disfigured".

    The Albanians seemed to have been killed by large caliber weapons.

    Meanwhile, the Serbian ('Yugoslav') federal health minister, Miodrag Kovac, told reporters in Prishtina Tuesday the five Albanians died in "a traffic accident".

    When reporters told him there were pictures in which it could be seen the five hald been killed by high-caliber gunfire, the Serb minister replied; "I got the information on the traffic accident from my colleagues. I was told this."

    This pattern of Serb officials' mendacity has become a daily routine.

    The murder of five Albanians in Rakovin& was the worst atrocity in Kosova after the massacre of 45 Albanian civilians in Re^ak on 15 January, which the Milosevic people tried to present as the killing of Albanian 'terrorists', despite the fact that they were all unarmed local villagers in civilian clothes, and including children and women, but also many elderly men.

    When Ambassador William Walker, the OSCE chief verifier in Kosova, said the Serb forces had carried out a massacre, the Serb regime threatened to expel him.

    [06] Serbian Forces Crack down on Albanians in Vushtrri, Klina, Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian police forces blocked a number of streets in the town of Vushtrri ('Vucitrn') today, ill- treating Albanian passers-bye, local LDK sources said.

    Two Serb army armored APCs left the Serb army barracks in the town, whereas heavy Serb police reportedly headed to the village of Stanoc i Posht&m.

    Around lunch-time today, Serb forced started firing the villages of Novolan and V&rrnic&, local sources said, failing to say anything about possible casualties or other consequences.

    A column of Serbian police, consisting of 4 armored vehicles and a jeep, left the town of Mitrovica for Skenderaj at 10:20 CET today.

    The Albanian population of the villages of Sferk& e Gashit and Dush, municipality of Klina, fled their homes today and went to the nearby woods, LDK sources in Malisheva reported. The Albanians fled after a Serb military convoy seemed about to enter the villages, they added.

    Tens of Serb soldiers and police embarked Tuesday on a campaign of raids in the Albanian villages of the Reka e Keqe, municipality of Gjakova.

    Eighteen Albanian households were raided in the Rexhaj family compound of Dobrosh village alone. The residents fled to the nearby woods in panic.

    Serb forces raided a number of Albanian families in the villages of Sheremet, Rracaj and Dallashaj yesterday.

    The households of the Shala family compound in C&rmjan village of Gjakova were reported raided yesterday, too. In the village of Bec, police raided the household of Binak Maxhuni, and abused physically his three sons, Faruk (23), Dukagjin (21), and P&rparim.

    Today, some 20 Serb policemen were involved in raiding the house of Ramadan Hima in Skivjan village. He was arrested and taken to the police in Gjakova.

    Many Albanian residents of C&rmjan village have fled their homes in fear of further Serb police raids.

    [07] Body Found Near Shupkovc Village of Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, Jan 27 (KIC) - The body of a dead man has been spotted lying on the street near the Shupkovc village of Mitrovica, local LDK sources said.

    No other details surrounding his identity and the circumstances of his death have been made known.

    Kosova Information Center

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