Chris Byrne on Tue, 30 Mar 1999 17:32:20 +0100

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>Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 23:20:58 +0200 (CEST)
>From: Geert Lovink <>
>Subject: Syndicate: IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 11
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>From: Tony Borden <>
>BLOOD ON THE WALK. While the situation throughout the province
>deteriorates, our correspondent in Pristina sees burning and looting, and
>bloodstains on the sidewalk.
>TIRANA CALLS FOR GROUND TROOPS. While terror increases in Kosovo, and
>refugees mount in Albania, Tirana appeals for NATO to intervene with
>ground troops to halt the violence. Fron Nazi reports.
>IWPR's network of leading correspondents in the region provide inside
>analysis of the events and issues driving crises in the Balkans. The
>reports are available on the Web in English, Serbian and Albanian;
>English-language reports are also available via e-mail. For syndication
>information, contact Anthony Borden <>.
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>media programmes, visit IWPR's Website: <>.
>Editor: Anthony Borden. News and Internet Editor: Rohan Jayasekera.
>Assistant Editing: Alan Davis. Translation by Denisa Kostovic and Alban
>"Balkan Crisis Report" is produced under IWPR's Balkan Crisis Information
>Project. The project seeks to contribute to regional and international
>understanding of the regional crisis and prospects for resolution.
>The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) is a London-based
>independent non-profit organisation supporting regional media and
>democratic change.
>Lancaster House, 33 Islington High Street, London N1 9LH, United Kingdom
>Tel: (44 171) 713 7130; Fax: (44 171) 713 7140;
>The opinions expressed in "Balkan Crisis Report" are those of the authors
>and do not necessarily represent those of the publication or of IWPR.
>Copyright (C) 1999 The Institute for War & Peace Reporting <>.
>While the situation throughout the province deteriorates, general chaos
>reigns in Pristina, with burning and looting, and bloodstains on the
>An IWPR Correspondent in Pristina *
>The situation outside the capital seems to be descending into a real
>nightmare, while in Pristina we have the same chaos we have had for days.
>Up to 30,000 Albanians have fled their towns and villages for Albania, and
>we hear that tens of thousands of Albanians have been taken out of their
>homes in Pec, in the western part of the province, by Serbian police and
>are being escorted in columns towards Rozhaje over the Kosovo border in
>Montenegro. Albanian sources say that more than 100 people in the town
>have been killed, dead bodies are lying on the streets, and after shelling
>and looting, the old part of the town has been destroyed. Gjakovica, it
>seems, is also aflame, and many people have been killed there, too.
>According to reports from Kosovapress, the news agency of the Kosovo
>Liberation Army agency, Serbian police entered the village of Cirez, where
>more than 15,000 refugees live in the open for more than two weeks, and
>forced them into a nearby military building-a possible NATO target. The
>actual events here, and the number of people involved, are hard to
>confirm, but everyone fears mass executions.
>In Pristina, the only people out on the streets are police and a great
>number of armed (Serbian) civilians wandering around the streets of the
>town, shooting in various directions. The looting, burning and general
>destruction continues. Shops are completely gutted, and everything taken.
>Cafes and restaurants--including the small hidden cafe where all the
>journalists used to meet--have been heavily damaged.
>Last night there were many explosions in the town--and not just from NATO
>bombs. This is the case especially around Dragodan, a residential part of
>Pristina, where there have been constant explosions. Albanians living in
>private houses there are particularly vulnerable.
>I don't sleep at home at night, but in the mornings when I come back, I
>can see lots of blood on the ground, though it is impossible to know who
>got wounded or killed the previous night.
>It seems that the authorities are trying to get people to flee. In many
>residential buildings, little papers were posted with the emblem of the
>Kosovo Liberation Army calling on people to leave their houses and go away
>from the towns. But some regional KLA commanders denied any links with the
>documents, and since the Albanian language in it has many mistakes, we
>expect they have been posted by the authorities. This isn't the first time
>counterfeit posters have been pasted around town exhorting the people to
>do one thing or another.
>The problem is that there's not much chance of going anyway. The bus
>station in Pristina is full, and buses are still travelling. But they only
>head north, towards Serbia, and only Serbs are allowed to board. Albanians
>are kicked off. Otherwise, there is no way to get out of town. The streets
>are full of paramilitary units controlling the roads, and no one would
>dare to try to pass. Some, through bribes and other means, have apparently
>found a way out, and almost none of my journalist colleagues are around
>any more.
>Even if you have some money, there's almost nothing to by in the shops. In
>those few that haven't been destroyed, there's very little to buy: no
>bread, no milk, no flour, no sugar. You need a fortune to buy a pack of
>cigarettes-and they are becoming increasingly scarce-or medicine. We had a
>better night with the phone lines last night, and we able to receive
>calls. But now only a few lines are still working, the mobile network is
>down, and we are afraid the whole system will simply be switched off soon.
>The Internet, through which I was able to file this report, belongs to a
>family linked to the Serbian government, and we expect it will also stop
>Meanwhile, on state-run media proudly proclaims that "Yugoslavia has
>entered history as the only state that shot down a NATO plane." The
>burnings and destruction that we see every night are, according to Serb
>TV, all caused by NATO.
>* This report is written by IWPR's correspondent in Pristina, whose name
>is withheld to protect from reprisals.
>While terror increases in Kosovo, and refugees mount in Albania, Tirana
>appeals for NATO to intervene with ground troops to halt the violence.
>By Fron Nazi in Tirana
>NATO air strikes were intended to bring Belgrade to its knees. But
>Belgrade has responded by building an iron curtain around Kosovo and
>launching a wave of terror against the Kosovars. In the past two days, up
>to 30,000 refugees have crossed the border into Albania, into the towns of
>Kukes and Has. The stories they tell are of extreme violence, and
>immediate expulsions from their homes. Key figures in the Albanian elite
>have been killed, gone into hiding or escaped Kosovo. Others are reported
>to have been detained.
>According to Gazmund Pula, President of the Kosovo Helsinki Committee,
>"Twenty thousand people have been detained by Serb forces, but it is not
>known what has happened to them. Also, criminals have been released from
>prisons to assist the Serbian forces with their anti-Albanian campaign."
>Speaking from Kosovo, Pula added, "We know that 20 people were killed in
>front of students. . . . As to the journalists, activists, and political
>leaders, Belgrade has put a death warrant on their heads. Yesterday, the
>actor Hadi Shehu best known for portraying Albanian patriots, was killed
>in Pristina by the Serbs."
>Since the beginning of NATO air strikes, not only have the Serbian forces
>increased their activity against the Kosovars but also against Albania
>proper. Serb forces have launched bombs in the northern village of Tropaj,
>destroying four homes, while in the nearby village of Kamnic, Serb forces
>entered the village and began shooting indiscriminately. There were no
>reports of any serious injuries.
>Rexhep Meidani, the president of Albania, has appealed to the West to
>intervene with ground troops in Kosovo to stop the killing. At a press
>conference with journalists he stressed that there was "only one war going
>on in the territory of what has remained from Yugoslavia and this is the
>inhuman war of Slobodan Milosevic regime against an undefended population,
>against Albanians." Arguing that the terror in Kosovo will not end without
>NATO troops, he stressed, "It is essential to accelerate NATO actions and
>find a way . . . to intervene on the ground."
>Fron Nazi is an IWPR senior editor.

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