Massacre in Drenica
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (burial)
Police buries Albanian victims
Over 50 victims buried at around 1900CET in Prekaz...
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA) 2100CET --
Serb police forces buried the victims of the massacre in Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina). After keeping them in a construction material depot in Skėnderaj for two days, tonight at around 1900CET the police buried them in the village of Prekaz, claim Albanian daily "Koha Ditore" sources.
According to witnesses, Mitrovica firemen were also engaged in the victims' burial. Only ten members of the victims' families attended the funeral. The Serb police had threatened to bury the victims alone, if not buried today as members of the victims' families had refused to bury the massacred victims without an autopsy.
There have been claims that there were not enough people to dig the graves. Also, some of the victims had not been identified, as they have been completely carbonated.
While the police fulfilled it's threat, Albanians evaluated it as a maneuver to hide evidence of the crime.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (journalists)
Rumanian cameraman missing
The police authorities say they have no evidence of his arrest, while Serb Secretary of Information says he will not be able to confirm anything until tomorrow morning
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA) - 2100CET
Rumanian cameraman, Grazian Bakalan, has been missing since his television crew "PRO TV", after filming the corpses of the Drenica massacre in the village of Polac, was forced to leave the area by the Serb police. At that time, the cameraman was far away and thus did not manage to join his crew. Police authorities say they have no evidence on his arrest, while Serb Secretary of Information says he will not be able to confirm anything until tomorrow morning.
Local Albanians in the region are trying to find out the whereabouts of the missing Rumanian cameraman.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (funeral)
Police forces families to bury the victims
Prishtina, 10 March (ARTA) -- 1600CET
CDHRF informs that the Serb police forces, standing besides two trucks and an APC, have started coercing the families of the victims of last week's Drenica massacre to bury them as soon as possible.
The families have, CDHRF sources claim, refused to bury their dead without prior identification.
In last week's police offensive on Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), at least 60 Albanian civilians were killed.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (funeral)
Catholic clergymen prevented to attend the funeral
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA) --1600CET
Dr. Don Shan Zefi, chancellor of the Episcopate of the Kosova Catholic Church, Dr. Don Prekė Lazri, priest of the Prizren cathedral and Don Nush Gjolaj, priest of the Prishtina church, were prevented from going to Prekaz today, to attend the funeral of the victims of the Drenica massacre.
They were stopped at Komoran police checkpoint (35 km west of Prishtina) and were threatened to be beaten, informs the Council for the Defence of the Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) in Prishtina.
Kosova: Aftermath of Drenica massacre (funeral)
Representatives of the Islamic Union prevented from attending funeral
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA)--1600CET
The Islamic Union of Kosova notifies that it's vice-chairman, Naim Tėrnava, Immam of Kosova, Sabri Bajgora, deputy to the dean of the Islamic Faculty, Qemajl Morina and others, were prevented from going to Prekaz and attend the burial of 29 out of, at least, 55 victims of the Drenica massacre.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (funeral)
Funeral is postponed
Kosova Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova proclaimed March 10 and 11 as mourning days, following the violent Serb police crackdown that has claimed the lives of over 85 people
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA) 1530CET --
Funeral of 29 Albanian victims of the combined Serb police and military assault on Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), scheduled for today, has been postponed and is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 11 March. Kosova Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova proclaimed the March 10 and 11 as mourning days, following the violent Serb police crackdown, carried out in this troubled region of Kosova that has claimed the lives of over 85 Albanians -- including women and children -- . The reasons cited for the delay, claim CDHRF sources, are the inappropriate conditions for this ceremony to take place.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (hostages)
110 Albanians, mostly women and children, are being kept hostage, claims CDHRF
The villages of Turiēevc, Brojė, Vojnikė, Kopiliq and Aēarevė remain under siege.
Prishtinė, 10 March (ARTA) 1515CET --
The situation in Drenica is still very tense. The villages of Turiēevc, Brojė, Vojnik, Kopiliq and Aēarevė remain under siege.
110 Albanians, mostly women and children, are being kept hostage in Osman Thaēi's house in Brojė, under threat of execution, notifies the Council's branch in Brojė.
In addition to the above, Fazli and Isė Lutani (M) were maltreated by Serb police and suffer serious injuries, whereas the latter one's wife is psychologically traumatized.
The Serb police beat the following members of family Kastrati in Turiēevc: Fazli (M), Selim (M), Cenė (M), Ferat (M), Ramė (M), Hazir (M), who are severely injured.
The local health station of this village, many private houses as well as the local school have been seriously damaged from the shooting by Serb police forces.
Kosova: Aftermath of the Drenica massacre (victims)
Number of the victims - 60?
Hamėz (Shaban) Jashari, had an extremely large hole on his chest, but since he was not subjected to autopsy, its diameter, the weapon that caused the death and the position of the heavy artillery bullet's entrance and exit, remains unknown.
The Council for the Defence of the Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF), claims that one of the victim's death was caused by a cold weapon
Skėnderaj, 10 March (ARTA)--1500CET
The corpses of Shaban and Hamzė (Shaban) Jashari, were brought late last night in to the construction material warehouse, at the entrance of Skėnderaj, where another 49 corpses are waiting to be buried.
The corpses were severely disfigured. Hamzė had an extremely large hole on his chest, but since he was not subjected to autopsy, its diameter, the weapon that caused the death and the position of the heavy artillery bullet's entrance and exit, remains unknown.
Hamzė's father, Shaban, was missing half of his right arm, and both of his eyes. Shaban's body was filled with bullets as well as his left arm and chest.
Hamėz Jashari is accused by the Serb police of being one of the leaders of KLA.
Police officials also declared that they will bring the corpses of one unknown person from Prekaz i Ulėt. The whereabouts of another 30 members of the Jashari family, are still unknown, Albanian sources claim.
CDHRF in Skėnderaj, claims that one of the victim's death was caused by a cold weapon and not by bullets, heavy artillery or fire.
There are rumors on five other dead in Llaushė, but this is still unconfirmed. However, if this is confirmed, then the overall toll of the killed will reach 60.
Kosova: Massacre in Drenica continues (aftermath, sniper fire)
Sniper fire discharged in and around village of Llaushė
Skėnderaj, 9 March (ARTA) 1030CET --
Random sniper fire, coming mainly from the Serb police positions, could be heard in and around the village of Llaushė in Drenica region during last night, local sources close to "Koha Ditore" confirm.
Shots were directed to Llaushė after Serb police forces overran Prekaz, close village which was under severe police siege and artillery fire for five days, during the large-scale police operation which has already claimed lives of over 60 people.
Kosova : Drenica massacre continues (aftermath, Serb officials statements)
Senior Kosova serb official blames Albanians for Drenica victims
"Albanian separatists who managed to drive away the Serbs out of Kosova wanted to control this region (Drenica) to prove that they have support for the imagined Kosova Albanian Republic", claims Odalovic, vice-prefect of the so-called "Kosovo District" in "The Washington Times"
Prishtinė, 9 March (ARTA) --
The senior official of the local Serb authorities in Kosova, in an interview to "The Washington Times", claimed that last week's police actions were indispensable to stop the "ethnic-cleansing of Serbs" from the region of Drenica.
"Albanian separatists managed to drive away the Serb population from this region -- mainly using violence", says Veljko Odalovic, vice-prefect of the so-called "Kosovo District".
"They wanted to control this region (Drenica) to prove that they have support for the imagined Kosova Albanian Republic", claims Odalovic.
He said that the "Albanian rebels chose to fight from their houses in Albanian villages, thus they are responsible for endangering the lives of their families".
In past weeks police crackdown on Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), over 85 Albanians are confirmed killed.
An unintentional error ocurred during the compilation of our last ARTA edition (Monday, 9 March). Instead of the US daily "The Washington Times", we quoted it as the "The Washington Post".
We apologize to both papers, as well as all readers.
KOSOVA: Renewed attack on Drenica (aftermath - snipers)
Snipers suspected to kill one Albanian
Snipers spent the day shooting at random
Skėnderaj, 8 March (ARTA) 2200CET--
Police snipers were again active in Skėnderaj (50 km west of Prishtina) today. Sources close to "Koha Ditore" inform that they spent the day shooting at all, but the little number of refugees that were moving in town. Still according to the same sources, tonight an unidentified Albanian was shot dead by snipers in the Rrecaj neighborhood in Skėnderaj.
Kosova: Renewed attack on Drenica (aftermath - ICRC)
ICRC finally made it
The delegation didn't manage to convince the authorities to accept the requests of the Albanians
Skėnderaj, 8 March (ARTA) 2200CET --
The siege of Skėnderaj was finally cracked today with the arrival of a convoy made up of three ICRC vehicles in Skėnderaj.
The delegation met, among others, with the chairman of the local branch of the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Skėnderaj, Adem Meta.
Meta declared to "Koha Ditore", that he had requested ICRC's assistance to go to the Jasharaj neighborhood in order to make an assessment and help the locals collect the bodies of the victims of the massacre, to help transfer 18 members of the Jashari family from Skėnderaj to their relatives' homes and finally, ICRC's mediation was requested to unblock life in Skėnderaj, by pursuing the authorities to reopen all shops and bakeries, for there is a visible lack of food in the area.
ICRC established a contact with the local Serb authorities, however, claims Meta, the requests of Albanians were rejected.
Foreign journalists not welcome any more
Foreign diplomats and journalists heard only the Serbian version of the massacre in Drenica
Skėnderaj, 8 March (ARTA) 2045CET--
"We, the representatives of political and non-political subjects in Skėnderaj, express our deep indignation towards the visit of representatives of different embassies and media to Prekaz i Ultė, organized by the Serb police", it is stated in the letter that the activists were forced to dictate on the phone, as they are not allowed to move in and out of town.
"The representatives accepted to listen to only the Serbian version on the Drenica massacre. This is why we will be forced not to receive any representative of the foreign media, as a sign of revolt towards their acceptance to become part of a filthy game and become part of the propaganda of the Belgrade regime", concludes the letter.
Renewed police attack on Drenica (reactions Albania)
Special accommodations already prepared for potential refugees
The Albanian government has no notion of the opening of a (refugee) corridor by the Serb side
Tiranė, 8 March (ARTA) 2045CET --
Tragic events of Kosova increased the mobilization and the readiness of the Albanian military troops on the border of "Yugoslavia".
Namik Dokle, vice-speaker of the Parliament, along with Defense Minister Sabit Brokaj, Interior Minsiter Neritan Ceka and the American military attache, colonel Applegeit, visited the division of Kukės.
As learned by the reports from this zone, it seems that the local authorities are in tight cooperation with the military organs in relation to a possible exodus of refugees from Kosova. According to this information, the local authorities, have already prepared special accommodations to accept the refugees that would cross into Albania.
The spokesman of the Albanian government, Ben Blushi, notified in a press conference that the Albanian government will prevent the crossings of terrorists and weapons from both sides of the border with "Yugoslavia". He declared that the Albanian government has no notion of the opening of a corridor by the Serb side, that wouild allow the crossing of the Kosova Albanian population into Albania.
The last news is that the Ministry of Defense, established a special headquarter, placed in the zone of Kukės. It is composed of military experts, that are in close cooperation with the division of Kukės, holding all military troops of this zone in alert.
KOSOVA: Renewed police attack on Drenica (internally displaced)
Over 3,000 women and children evacuated from Drenica
Some of the displaced are reported wounded, and a large number injured
Vushtrri, 8 March (ARTA) 2045 CET --
Over 3,000 women and children from the villages od Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), under siege during the past week, settled in the villages of the Vushtrri municipality, claim Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) sources from this municipality.
The Albanian families living in this region have accepted the displaced in their houses and gave first aid to those in need. Some of the refugees are reported wounded, and a large number injured.
According to unofficial reports, over 5,000 refugees from the villages under siege, have settled in Mitrovicė and Vushtrri.
Renewed police attack on Drenica (visit of journalists organized by the Serb administered Secretariat of Information)
"An attempt to manipulate the media".
"The ones who surrendered are in a safe place", claims the police
Prishtinė, 8 March (ARTA) 1800 CET --
"We know nothing of the bus of journalists going to Prekaz", claimed an official from the Serb administered Secretariat of Information of Kosova.
Today at around 1300CET a selected group of journalists by the Serb authorities in Belgrade visited the attacked village of Prekaz.
"The list was made by the Ministry (of Information) in Belgrade, based on very strict criteria", stated the people at the Secretariat in Prishtina, offering no further explanations about the "criteria".
Some of the reporters that went, say that Prekaz was emptied, as well as all the villages they passed through.
"The place was empty, all you could see were policemen and a few cows", says one of the reporters.
The police showed the journalists one of the so-called "bunkers", where Albanians found shelter, continues the reporter, adding that "the bunker was a meter high and 3 squared meters big. There were some weapons and ammunition, that according to the police were used by the Albanians". According to the reporter "a few houses in Prekaz were destroyed, whereas the others were not that damaged". The explanation of the police for this was that "the houses that surrendered, were not attacked. The police also stated that "people of the houses, were in a safe place". The police didn't define the word "safe"
Political analysts evaluated this "excursion" as "an attempt of the Serb authorities to justify its attack on Prekaz, as war against terrorism. Or an attempt to manipulate the media".
Renewed police attack on Drenica (protests)
Peaceful protests scheduled tomorrow in Kosova
"For peace, against violence, war and Serb terror"
Protests will begin at 1100CET and end at 1130CET and will be mainly concentrated in the center of Kosova's towns
Prishtinė, 8 March (ARTA) 1730 CET -
Following the slaughter in Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), mass peaceful protests will be held in all towns of Kosova.
This decision was made during the joint meeting of the Coordinating Council of Kosova Albanian political parties, Independent Students' Union, Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosova (UITUK) and Coordinating Council of Political Parties' branches, and it was approved of by the Kosova Albanian leaders, Ibrahim Rugova and Bujar Bukoshi.
These protests are scheduled to begin at 1100 CET and end at 11300 CET under the motto: "For peace, against violence, war and Serb terror".
In the communique issued by the Coordinating Council of political parties' branches, it is stated that the protests will be mainly concentrated in the center of Kosova's towns.
Renewed police attack on Drenica (visit of diplomats)
Western diplomats refuse to visit Prekaz
Prishtinė, 8 March (ARTA) 1700CET --
Diplomats from several embassies accredited in Belgrade went to Prekaz (60 km west of Prishtina), the site of the Drenica massacre occurred in the past week.
The trip was organized by the Ministry of Information of Serbia.
Diplomats representing various western countries, USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, etc., refused to take the trip, arguing that "there was more need for humanitarian organizations to visit the area first", some diplomatic sources stated.
Renewed police attack on Drenica (protests)
"Let's stand in front of our doorsteps"
In the towns of Kosova many women, holding white paper in their hands, stood in front of their doorsteps
Prishtinė, 8 March (ARTA) 1800CET --
Above 15,000 Albanian women started gathering since 1030CET today, although the protest against the violence and the terror with the motto: "Let's stand in front of our doorsteps" was scheduled to take place at 1200CET, in front of the USIS in Prishtina.
The protests were peaceful and only two posters could be seen: a picture of a mother with a child and a slogan stating: "Stop Crime".
All women waved plain white papers for around 15 minutes. The meaning of the white paper was explained as a sign of peace, the lack of all rights as well as an empty Western promise, all at the same time.
Despite large police forces, there was no intervention. The protests ended at 1215CET, as scheduled.
The other towns of Kosova also witnessed the peaceful protest. Many women, holding white paper in their hands, stood in front of their doorsteps, to express the indignation with the massacre suffered by people of Drenica region (40 km west of Prishtina), perpetrated by the Serb police forces last week.
KOSOVA: Renewed police attack on Drenica (updated coverage, internal displacements)
"Children's blood dripped down their torn shirts"
Kodra: "Seeing that the road to Polac and back home was blocked, I waved with a white scarf and shouted: 'I am a mother with five children, please let me pass through, let me go'. I heard a horrifying voice saying "Pucaj! (Shoot), Unisti (Destroy)!". It was then when I realized that my five children and I were dying only because we are Albanians..."
Prishtinė, 8 March (ARTA) 1500CET -
"I will probably remember the dawn of that day, even the day I die, because it was the most horrifying morning. Starting from 0500CET unexpected shots were heard. Some of us were inside the houses, while others went out in the yard. Without prior warning, they started shooting at the houses, not considering the fact that many defenseless mothers and children were inside", were the words that opened the press conference of the 37 years old woman, one of the rare ones that succeeded to escape from Prekazi i Ulėt along with her five children aged 16, 15, 10, 9 and 5. "I cannot understand how those mothers can send their children to kill... Don't they know that there is a God for us as well?", added Mahire Kodra.
In this conference, held in the headquarters of Kosova's Presidency, in a very traumatized condition, Kodra begins her story:
"I was inside the house and the children were asleep. Suddenly we heard cannon shots hitting the Jasharaj property. Afterwards children's cries could be heard all the way to our house. For a moment, I thought what kind of people are those who hear such cries and yet show no feelings?! I went out to see what was happening. I went to the Lushtak neighborhood, but I couldn't get any further because of the machine-guns, tanks firing...bullets were striking walls of the houses. Then, somehow, despite all the bullets flying, we started to evacuate the children. Some of the children got wounded. The children's blood dribbled through their torn shirts. We loaded a tractor of children, but they were shooting without control, even when they saw that there were only women and children. I don't know why... we had never killed their women nor children and we could never think of that, because, we Albanians support a peaceful politics and we could never do what they have done. We are all creations of God.
There were revolted men, and they grabbed whatever they could, only to protect their children. They never had any plans for war... We don't want war! They grabbed the axes and rakes only when they saw their bleeding children, killed wives, only to protect themselves, nothing more. Then I returned to my children, to see how they were. It seemed like ages.
Too late, the children were already terrified. I took my children and went out, I don't know how I made it, because the roads were blocked by so many policemen that the road could not be seen. They saw very well that I was a woman. I "passed through" 500 bullets. Only God saved me, not their conscience and, certainly not, their humane feelings. Seeing that the road to Polac and the one back home was blocked, I took out a white scarf and shouted: "I am a mother with five children, please let me pass, let me go". I heard a horrifying voice saying "Pucaj (Shoot)!" and "Unisti (Destroy)!".
It was then when I realized that my children and I are dying, only because we are Albanians. I penetrated somehow a conduit, my 5 years old boy fainted. Just as we were getting in the conduit, a grenade fell and it hit a pear tree. I saw tanks with huge cannons that were terrifying only to look at, there were three rings of "Iron policemen", with iron hearts... I don't understand why this is happening, we never did any harm to anybody. Just as we passed through that, we ran in to a group of masked people wearing black clothes and black masks. I had never feared so much in my life -- they were waving very quickly with their long knives. I continued further, my young boy's wouldn't recover his conscience, for a moment I thought he died...I freshened him up with some water and he opened his eyes a little. I got in to the basement of an unknown house, it was very cold. I went to ask for help at the houses nearby, but they did not allow me in, because they were afraid the police would retaliate. If I would have gotten in, the police would have killed me as well as the people that were protecting me. I asked for clothes, because the ones we had on, were wet. A woman threw some from the window and said that she could not help me with anything else. It was dark... 2300 CET. Different shots were heard. I got in the basement and spent a long, cold night until around 0300 CET. I was afraid to go out, because I heard shootings during the whole night, from all sides. I saw houses going down, my house was in flame by now. I didn't know what to do. I got on my knees and prayed to God, because at the time he was the only one who could help me, nobody else. I waited until around 0500 CET, at dawn, because I was afraid. Then I started running, holding in my arms my youngest son who was freezing cold. Without having anything to eat for a long time now... I continued to walk for hours. At noon I arrived to the village of Llaushė. Though heartbroken, they could not offer me help either, they would suffer the consequences as the Jasharaj family did and they would be massacred. I continued walking to the village of Dobroshec, and there I got on the train for Fushė Kosovė. The younger boy kept asking for food, while the others already understood the situation. I arrived in Fushė-Kosovė, I asked to go to the Women's Forum to find shelter for my children, but the taxi-driver that brought me to Prishtina didn't know where their premises where, thus he drove me to "Koha Ditore" premisses. It was here, that I found out and read about the death of my husband, Xhema. This meant an end to my children's happiness. How am I going to support my children?...I am educated but I have no job... How am I going to educate my children, what is going to happen... or are they going to kill me?! Not only are they killing men, but also their children and wives".
The end of her story was followed by questions made by foreign journalists. To the question, "how many policemen did she see?", she answered "around a thousand" adding "policemen were all I saw through the whole way. The first I saw had strange uniforms, equipped with heavy artillery. Among those wearing masks, I believe, were women as well, you could tell by the voice...". To the question whether she had seen any jeeps she replied "no" however she saw "tanks and some other (unidentified) vehicles that were shooting with no control"
At the same conference among to the continuous answers she was giving to the foreign journalists she declared: "I studied English and my husband graduated from the commercial school, and used to work at the Ammunition Factory, before he was sacked ten years ago. He was taken by the police once, because they suspected he had a gun". To the question whether there were any people who defended themselves, she replied "only in cases when they were protecting themselves or their children. We used to live along with Serbs. It never happened that an Albanian killed a Serb's child. And it will never happen. This is a very unfair politic". When asked how were the others able to protect themselves, she said "I don't know. They had very little... a machine-gun or two. I didn't get to see that fight. They had some guns also, but they mostly had axes and hay rakes" emphasizing that "any ordinary person would have acted the same way if he saw his children about to be killed, because we respect president Rugova's rules, by all means, and we will continue respecting them, because we are in the year 2000...", Mahije Kodra concludes.