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Updated at 5:30 AM on April 18, 1999


24 Hours Over Kosova

Serbian Forces vs. Albanian Civilians

Expulsion of Albanians Accelerates

KLA Progress Reports


Clinton to Milosevic: Give In Or Lose Kosova
1.21 a.m. ET (522 GMT) April 18, 1999

LONDON — President Clinton warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic Sunday he would lose control of Kosova unless he gave in to NATO terms, and said the region could not be secure while Milosevic was in power.

Clinton, in a British newspaper article, denounced Milosevic as a "belligerent tyrant'' as tens of thousands more Kosova refugees flooded into Albania, sending relief workers rushing to find them food and shelter in a country already overwhelmed.

Undeterred by a bloody incident last Wednesday in which a column of refugees was allegedly bombed by accident by NATO planes, the alliance pressed ahead overnight with air strikes on Yugoslavia, with bombing reported in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

Clinton, writing in London's Sunday Times, said Milosevic could end the crisis immediately by withdrawing his forces from Kosova, letting in an international security force and allowing ethnic Albanian refugees to return home and enjoy self-rule.

"But if he will not do that, our campaign will continue, shifting the balance of power against him until we succeed,'' he said. "Ultimately, Mr. Milosevic must either cut his mounting losses or lose his ability to maintain his grip on Kosova.''

Clinton made no direct reference to a NATO land invasion of Kosova, a subject of growing speculation among Western analysts. But he said Serbia needed a "democratic transition...for the region cannot be secure with a belligerent tyrant in its midst.''

Yugoslavia's neighbors and Western states came under new pressure to cope with a refugee exodus from Kosova after a temporary lull when Yugoslavia closed its borders.

About 28,000 hungry and exhausted ethnic Albanians have passed through Albania's main border crossing with Yugoslavia in the past 48 hours, the largest influx in 10 days. Refugees have told aid workers 50,000 or more may be following behind.

"They're coming thick and fast,'' said an official of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Relief officials in northern Albania said the latest arrivals — in cars, tractors, trucks and on foot — were in the worst condition they had seen.

The flood of refugees followed the start of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia on March 24 to force Belgrade to accept a Western peace plan for Kosova. NATO officials say Milosevic may be trying to drive most of the Albanians from the province.

Yugoslavs endured another night of heavy NATO bombing. Belgrade residents said they heard a big explosion in the city Saturday night, followed by anti-aircraft fire. The Yugoslav news agency Beta said five people were injured in a Belgrade suburb.

Serbian television said that the "NATO killers'' had launched their most intensive attacks so far on Yugoslavia's second city Novi Sad, hitting an oil refinery.

Saturday, NATO said its latest raids had not been confined to hitting buildings and had destroyed seven Yugoslav tanks, plus troop carriers and field forces in Kosova.

The alliance said more than 3,000 ethnic Albanians might have been murdered by Yugoslav forces in Kosova over the past three weeks in an orgy of ethnic dispossession and persecution.

NATO officials mounted a robust defense of their military campaign in spite of strong criticism of accidental killing of civilians in Wednesday's alleged bombing of a refugee convoy.

"Just to call this (campaign) off and do nothing would be to give a kind of carte blanche not just to Milosevic but to every other dictator around the world to brutally repress his population,'' NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels.

NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark, visiting an alliance air base at Aviano in Italy, also sought to deflect attention from the incident, saying he was unsure whether the full facts behind it would ever be known.

Politicians in the Balkans and beyond meanwhile began to tot up the cost of the Kosova crisis.

Albania's minister for economic cooperation and trade, Ermelinda Meksi, told an international conference in London that Tirana would need more than $800 million in foreign assistance over the next three months to cope with 300,000 refugees who had fled Kosova to Europe's poorest country.

There are 125,000 refugees in Macedonia.

In Dresden, German Finance Minister Hans Eichel told European Union colleagues that now was not the time for penny pinching. "We paid for German unity — and now we will have to pay for peace in the Balkans,'' Eichel said.

And in Washington, administration officials said Clinton planned to ask Congress early in the week for emergency spending of $5.9 billion to fund costs of the Yugoslavia conflict, including up to $700 million in humanitarian aid.

The Pentagon said Saturday it was "not optimistic'' that a prisoner swap could be arranged with Belgrade to free three U.S. soldiers captured by Yugoslav forces in return for a Serb army officer now held by the U.S. military in Albania.

"I would not be optimistic on that score,'' Navy Captain Mike Doubleday, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters.

NATO Preparing For Kosova Ground Invasion In May?
1.19 a.m. ET (519 GMT) April 18, 1999

LONDON — NATO is laying plans for a ground invasion of Kosova which could take place as early as the end of May, Britain's Observer newspaper said Sunday.

The paper said 80,000 troops had been earmarked for the operation and that some American troops had already started training in Colorado.

It quoted senior sources in London and Washington as saying that the accelerated timetable followed insistence by NATO's political leaders that the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia must be over within three months.

The official NATO line is that the air campaign will continue until Yugoslav troops withdraw from Kosova, an international security force goes in and the people of Kosova are allowed to return home.

The Observer said a radical rethinking of NATO strategy was taking place.

"We are no longer talking about simply sending peacekeeping troops into an entirely permissive environment,'' one source told the Observer last week.

"We are talking about the use of ground forces in a way that would have been complete taboo a month ago. That is sending troops in, semi-opposed,'' the source said.

As the bombing campaign grinds on in Kosova and Yugoslavia there has been growing speculation about the use of NATO ground troops. Saturday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that a ground invasion was still not an option.

The Observer said planning for a limited ground campaign was being rushed ahead.

It said an invasion force of between 75,000 and 80,000 soldiers would be preceded by an advance guard of 20,000 including reconnaissance and special forces, mine sweeping and explosives experts.

An artillery and tank spearhead would then cut a narrow way into the heart of Kosova.

The paper quoted a U.S. official as saying the invasion could not take place until the weather settled down and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's defenses were crippled further.

"Say, no sooner than six weeks but not necessarily later than two months,'' the source said.

The report said that 8,000 troops had been earmarked to secure the border between Albania and Kosova with a further 200,000 needed to secure Serbia's other borders with Bosnia, Hungary and Romania.

World U.S. Held Secret Talks With KLA, Magazine Says

9.36 p.m. ET (137 GMT) April 17, 1999

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials held secret talks with the Kosova Liberation Army earlier this month about providing it with European-made anti-tank weapons and other support, U.S. News & World Report reported Saturday.

The magazine, in its edition due on newsstands Monday, gave no indication what the outcome of the talks was and did not name its sources for the information.

Defense Secretary William Cohen and CIA Director George Tenet, in private meetings with Republican senators this week, praised the KLA's recent battlefield performances, the report said.

It reported that Cohen and Tenet told lawmakers that 10 KLA battalions successfully had defended the Podujevo area in northeast Kosova against Serb forces of President Slobodan Milosevic.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Barry Toiv said the administration would have no comment on the magazine article or on U.S. relations with the KLA, which has been accused of gun-running and drug trafficking.

Cohen told members of Congress this week the KLA was no ''choirboy circle,'' U.S. News and World Report said.

KLA soldiers prepare for comeback
By Preston Mendenhall MSNBC

KUKES, Albania, April 17 — Rebels from the ragtag Kosova Liberation Army fighting for independence from Yugoslavia are staging a buildup and recruitment operation in northern Albania, bolstering their numbers from young Kosovar males fleeing the region and hundreds of Albanians abroad who are sympathetic to the cause. THE KLA GUERRILLAS operate openly and freely in this border town, often with the tacit support of the Albanian army and local police force, while international relief workers criticize the rebels’ presence near refugee camps. Dressed in army surplus fatigues, mainly from Germany and the United States, officers and recruits in the KLA stroll through downtown Kukes and its surrounding refugee camps built by humanitarian workers and the militaries of Italy, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Young ethnic Albanian men from Kosova, now refugees in Kukes, confirm that the KLA has launched a recruitment drive to train its next wave of fighters after an overwhelming defeat by Serb military forces sweeping though Kosova. The KLA is using NATO’s constant attacks on Serb military installations as cover while it regroups just outside Yugoslavia’s border in this lawless northern region of Albania, Europe’s poorest country.

DANGER TO REFUGEE CAMPS But the bold presence of the KLA in Kukes, which is well within reach of Serb mortars and cluster rockets, opens the town and its estimated 100,000 Kosova refugees up to attacks that could kill scores of people in the now densely populated area. Indeed, the KLA, which uses an abandoned factory in the town’s outskirts as a base for its training and recruitment operations, is believed to have been the target of five rocket attacks since Wednesday. The resulting explosions injured villagers several miles from Kukes, where the KLA has a second training camp. “We are very, very worried,” said Kevin Halsey, UNHCR’s field operations officer in northern Albania, who said the refugee camps are too close to the border and potential KLA skirmish points. “But this is the only flat land between here and the [Adriatic] coast, and we have to help these people immediately.” A LOW PROFILE The KLA, too, is worried. An attempt by MSNBC to film outside the downtown recruitment headquarters on Saturday was met with armed threats. Guards outside the facility seized the equipment of NBC News and MSNBC journalists, returning it after a half-hour detention. Video filmed of the facility was seized after a local commander viewed it. Across the street from the dilapidated factory on Saturday, KLA guards watched about 20 young men before they registered for duty. Inside the main gates, some 50 men in camouflage uniforms with the red KLA insignia milled about. The younger men were unarmed, but commanders all carried automatic weapons and wore red laminated KLA identification cards. Only several hundred yards from the facility, uniformed Albanian army officers sat in cafes paying no attention to the rebels’ operations.

TWO SONS IN BATTLE Outside the gates of the KLA compound, a college-aged Kosova Albanian male hugged his crying mother goodbye and then returned to his unit inside. Elfije Gashi, who arrived with her family two weeks ago from Prizren after being forced from her home by Serb police, has seen two of her three sons join the KLA since arriving in Kukes. She said it was their choice. “They both wanted to join after they saw what the Serbs did to us,” she said. Burim, the older boy, signed up the day after he arrived in Kukes. “He just told me that he is going to the front on April 30,” she said. The younger boy, Faruk, joined on Wednesday. In a moment reminiscent of the film “Saving Private Ryan,” Gashi introduced her youngest son, Rifat, whom she hoped to keep at home. “It would be enough to lose two sons in battle,” she said wiping her eyes again. At 17, Rifat is too young to join the KLA, which reportedly refuses recruits under 18 years old.

ACTIVE RECRUITMENT STRATEGY The KLA has focused its recruitment drive on two fronts: men coming across the Kosova border and men already living in the tent camps of Albania. The organization is able to capitalize on the anger of refugees like the Gashi boys leaving their destroyed homes in Kosova.

At the Morina border crossing a few miles away from Kukes, KLA soldiers walk alongside Albanian border guards among the hundreds of refugees that cross each hour. While they refuse to disclose the purpose of their presence, they can be seen mixing among young Kosova Albanian men. In addition, the KLA openly approaches young men in the tent camps that house 40,000 refugees in Kukes. On Saturday, one KLA soldier initially said he was “just visiting his family” in a camp. Then he said he was from Albania, not Kosova, although he spoke Albanian with a Kosovar accent. “Sure they come through here,” 27-year-old refugee Osman Osmani said on Saturday amid the mud and rain soaked tents in the Saudi Arabian-built camp near Kukes. “But right now we first have to take care of our families and find them a place to live.” “The KLA tells us that once we take care of our families, we have to come and fight,” Osmani said. While Osmani was talking, the KLA soldier allegedly visiting his family approached and rebuked him for talking to journalists.

SOLDIERS FROM ABROAD The KLA has also launched a drive to bring back thousands of Albanians living abroad to fight for Kosova’s independence. Ethnic Albanians from Germany, the United States and Switzerland regularly ride the ferry from Bari, Italy, to Durres, Albania — some even donning fatigues before they hit shore.

Western military experts and governments still debate the exact size of the KLA, which the Pentagon currently estimates at about 1,500. In Kukes, there is no firm count of KLA soldiers, but a quick tally at their training facility and in the refugee camps comes up with a figure of around 200. Also debatable is the ability of the organization to recruit a significant enough number of volunteers to turn the rebels into a formidable fighting force. While some Kosovar men are eager to enlist, others may think twice about brandishing a gun against the massive artillery and size of the Yugoslav army and Serb police, preferring to let NATO do the dirty work. And ethnic Albanians returning from abroad may be led more by idealistic desires for a free Kosova than a real understanding of the situation in the region, where the KLA, even during its grandest moments a year ago, relied only on unsophisticated military tactics — mainly hit and run attacks on Serb positions. Inside the KLA’s Kukes training facility, which is full of broken windows and abandoned industrial equipment, life as a freedom fighter is hardly well funded. Elfije Gashi said her sons told her they eat only bread and cheese. “I give them the little money I have so they can buy food,” she said.

Milosovic Seeks Help From Libya's Qaddafi
4.47 p.m. ET (2047 GMT) April 17, 1999

TUNIS — Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic telephoned Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and asked him to help resolve the Kosova crisis, Libyan state-television said on Saturday.

"President Milosevic has asked brother leader of the Revolution (Qaddafi) to deploy all his efforts to resolve this problem given his (Qaddafi's) wisdom and respect by all parties, and the important role played by Libya in international relations," it said.

The television report, monitored in Tunis, said Milosevic told Qaddafi that NATO's intervention in Kosova had "nothing to do with defending anyone" and quoted the Yugoslav leader as saying Yugoslavia was resisting the attacks by the Western allies.

Unlike most other Arab states, Libya has condemned NATO's airstrikes against Yugoslavia aimed at halting the Belgrade's government offensive against ethnic Albanians in Kosova.

Libya, which earlier this month saw the suspension of U.N. economic sanctions imposed against it over the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing, has in the past been a key supplier of crude oil to Belgrade.

Yugoslavia's fuel supplies are drying up as the flow of oil from neighboring countries has stopped and its ability to refine its own transport and heating fuels has been hit hard by NATO bombings against its two refineries and oil storage sites.

Serb TV Accuses OSCE, George Soros of Helping KLA
4.37 p.m. ET (2037 GMT) April 17, 1999

BELGRADE — Yugoslav television said on Saturday the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Albania, Slovenia and even George Soros were helping Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) rebels in their campaign against Belgrade.

A report by state television said it had uncovered evidence of foreign help for the KLA in a burned-out "terrorist training camp" near the village of Gornje Obrilje in Kosova.

"Even the verification mission of the OSCE knew and were visiting them (the KLA) almost on a daily basis giving them information about our forces," the report said.

Yugoslavia is hostile to the OSCE, which has been monitoring the ethnic Albanian refugee crisis. Russia has suggested a compromise peace deal in which the OSCE would oversee peacekeeping forces in Kosova in the event of a cease-fire.

The television report also said passports found at the camp belonging to Albanian and Slovenian citizens were evidence of secret service help for the KLA from both countries.

The West is deeply concerned that Yugoslavia may try to widen the Kosova conflict to nearby countries, especially Albania, which has offered NATO the use of its territory to halt ethnic cleansing by Yugoslav forces in Kosova.

Slovenia seceded from the Yugoslav federation in a relatively peaceful divorce in 1991 and has largely ceased to be a matter of concern to Belgrade.

The television report even suggested that Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros's Open Society Foundation was supplying the rebels with military aid.

"We also found a bag with the sign of the so-called Open Society Foundation, belonging to George Soros, also showing his involvement. The Open Society's present to the terrorist group is ammunition," it said.

Dole Says Refugee Situation Is 'One Of The Worst'
1.29 a.m. ET (530 GMT) April 18, 1999

WASHINGTON — Elizabeth Dole, a former head of the American Red Cross now seeking to become the first woman U.S. president, said Saturday she saw horrific human suffering while visiting refugee camps near the Kosova border.

"I have seen a lot of humanitarian crises but this is one of the worst,'' Dole told CNN from Italy following visits to camps in Albania and Macedonia.

She charged that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his Serbian forces are "not fighting a war. They are committing crimes against humanity.''

While many Republicans and even Democrats have been split on what the United States' next move should be, Dole said, "This war must be won.''

Dole said the United States and NATO must bolster air strikes and at least prepare for possible introduction of ground troops.

"We certainly need to increase what we are doing even more,'' she said.

"You can't believe the suffering of these people,'' Dole said. She said they told her of being driven from their homes, forced onto trains and separated from loved ones.

"They tell me, 'please ... help us,''' Dole said.

In an interview with ABC, set to be broadcast Sunday, Dole said, "I think that Milosevic ... should be labeled a war criminal.''

She said she did not know if the United States and NATO would eventually bring in ground troops, but added, "We must have all the options on the table.''

Dole said Milosevic's forces needed to be driven out of Kosova and that NATO-led forces must make the area safe again so that the people can return.

24 Hours Over Kosova

Serbian Forces vs. Albanian Civilians


(New York, April 17, 1999, 12:00amEDT) -- Five witnesses, interviewed separately, have described in detail how Serbian security forces executed more than sixty ethnic Albanian men in the village of Bela Crkva (Bellacerka in Albanian) just hours after NATO bombing began in Yugoslavia on March 24.

Human Rights Watch researchers in Kukes, Albania, interviewed the five witnesses yesterday. The refugees' detailed accounts were consistent with one another and matched the testimony of a sixth witness given to a journalist from the French newspaper Le Monde.

According to the witnesses, the killings took place on the morning of March 25, some twelve hours after NATO began bombing targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The witnesses described in consistent detail how residents of the village of Bela Crkva were forced to flee their homes at approximately 4 a.m., an hour after Serb forces started burning the village. The villagers fled into the fields toward Rogovo, hiding themselves by the banks of the Bellaj (in Albanian), a stream flowing from Bela Crkva to Rogovo.

In the early morning of March 25, Serb forces found the ethnic Albanians hiding near a bridge where the railroad tracks crossed the stream. The families of Clirim Zhuniqi and Xhemal Spahiu, who were approximately fifty meters away from the main group of villagers, were the first to be discovered. Twelve members of the two families were summarily executed with automatic weapon fire, witnesses said. There was one survivor: a two-year-old boy whose mother had protected him with her body.

Nesim Popaj, an Albanian doctor from Bela Crkva, reportedly tried to negotiate with the Serb commander, pleading with him to spare the lives of the hundreds of villagers. He explained that they were not members of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA), witnesses told Human Rights Watch. The commander responded by saying: "You're terrorists, and NATO will have to save you."

During this discussion, the commander was stepping down on the neck of Shendet Popaj, the doctor's seventeen-year-old nephew, who was lying prone on the ground. Abruptly ending the discussion, the commander -- described by one witnesses as a medium-height man, around thirty-five years old, in a green camouflage uniform with three stars on his shoulders -- mowed down Nesim with an automatic weapon in front of Nesim's wife and three children, after which he killed Shėndet. The witness noted specifically that the commander, believed by the witness to be a captain, had a distinguishing feature: a recognizably scrunched up mouth.

The Serb forces then separated men and boys as young as twelve from the rest of the villagers. The men were told to undress, in an apparent attempt to humiliate them in front of their wives and children. The Serb forces, described by witnesses as "special police forces," then proceeded to search the mens' clothes and strip them of money, jewelry, and documents. One witness reported that the men had to hand over their wedding rings. The women and children were then told to walk along the railroad track towards Zrze (Xerxe in Albanian), a village on the Dakovica-Prizren road about a mile southwest of Bela Crkva.

Robbed of their possessions, the men were told to dress again, and then to go to the nearby stream. At that point, Serb forces opened fire with automatic weapons. The female villagers who were walking along the railroad tracks told Human Rights Watch that they heard a burst of gunfire, lasting for several minutes without interruption.

Human Rights Watch also spoke with one man, who did not wish to be identified, who claimed that he was shot with the group of men near the stream, and survived. When interviewed in Kukes he had bandages on his right shoulder, right arm and head from wounds he said he had sustained during the shooting (to his right shoulder), as well as some shrapnel wounds he had sustained later while trying to escape Kosova (to his head and arm).

In a detailed testimony that was highly consistent with the other witnesses, the man told Human Rights Watch that a bullet had struck him in the right shoulder, forcing him back onto the bank of the stream. He was then covered by the bodies of several dead men, he said, which hid him from the Serb forces who were examining the bodies for signs of life. He told Human Rights Watch:

I was lucky. I was in front of the group. I was shot in the shoulder and flew into the stream, where I pretended to be dead. About twenty dead bodies fell on top of me. They then shot into the pile of bodies to be sure they were dead... They shot people one by one, but I didn't get shot because they didn't see me.
Roughly ten minutes later, still hiding under the pile of bodies, the witness heard another round of automatic weapons fire nearby. Some thirty minutes after that, when the witness realized that the Serb forces had moved on, he stood up and saw the dead bodies of seven elderly people from his village, as well as two persons unknown to him, lying in a field about a hundred meters away from the stream. He then proceeded to walk towards Zrze, where he told the women from Bela Crkva who had arrived around 10:00 a.m. what had happened.

The witness' account closely matched the testimony of another apparent survivor given to French journalist Nathaniel Herzberg (see "The Refugees of Kosova Witness Executions by Serb Forces," by Nathaniel Herzberg, Le Monde, April 14, 1999). This witness told Herzberg that the men were forced to undress and then dress again before being marched to the stream bed, where they were shot. He said:

It was then that they opened fire. I was thrown into the water, and others fell on top of me. And then nothing. Five minutes later, I heard another burst of machine-gun firing, far away. After about 20 minutes, I moved. There were six survivors, but four were wounded. I didn't have anything [I wasn't hurt.] I think there were between thirty-five and forty dead, of which four were my cousins.
According to other witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch, who also wished to remain anonymous, a man and several women near Zrze went back to the stream by tractor to see if there were any other survivors. They told Human Rights Watch that they found five or six men who were wounded near the stream and brought them to Zrze. Two of the men later died of their wounds, and it is unknown what happened to the others. Two days later, on the Muslim holiday of Bajram, a group of villagers buried the bodies in a field near the river. A participant in the burial told Human Rights Watch that the villagers had to work two nights in a row to bury all the bodies.

The massacre in Bela Crkva reveals a pattern of mass killings along a seven-mile stretch of villages on the Djakovica-Prizren road between March 25 and March 27. Human Rights Watch has confirmed that at least forty ethnic Albanian males were killed in the town of Velika Krusa (Krusha e Madhe in Albanian) on March 26 (see Human Rights Flash # 18, April 4). There are highly credible reports from individual witnesses of mass killings in the nearby villages of Mala Krusa, Celina, and Pirane.

One possible explanation for the spate of mass killings in this specific area may be revenge for the past activity of the KLA, which at times controlled territory to the northeast of Velika Krusa in the direction of Orahovac. It is also possible that these killings can be attributed to one particularly brutal group of soldiers or police, although this is speculation.

List of Those killed in Bela Crkva on March 25:

1. Hajrullah Begaj (village Imam), 29
2. Murat Berisha, 62
3. Adem Berisha, 33
4. Hysni Fetoshi, 50
5. Halim Fetoshi, 70
6. Fatmir Fetoshi, 30
7. Ardian Fetoshi, 16
8. Fadil Gashi, 47
9. Musat Morina, 60
10. Zyraje Morina (wife of Musat), 55
11. Nesim Popaj (doctor), 36
12. Shendet Popaj, 17 (nephew of doctor)
13. Etihem Popaj, 40
14. Krashnik Popaj (son of Etihem), 48
15. Isuf Popaj, 65
16. Mehmet Popaj (son of Isuf), 46
17. Vehap Popaj, 60
18. Bedrush Popaj, 50
19. Avdullah Popaj (son of Bedrush), 16
20. Sedat Popaj, 50
21. Ifan Popaj, 40
22. Rrustem Popaj, 63
23. Mersel Popaj, 50
24. Sahit Popaj, 42
25. Behlul Popaj, 14
26. Nazmija Popaj, 45
27. Albani Popaj, 20
28. Agon Popaj, 14
29. Hysni Popaj, 38
30. Lendrit Popaj, 17
31.-37. Xhemajl Spahiu, 70 (from village of Apturush, he and 6 family members were killed together with Clirim Zhuniqi in first group of 12)
38. Eshref Zhuniqi, age 60
39. Fatos Zhuniqi, 42
40. Labinot Zhunici, age 17
41. Mahamet Zhuniqi, 65
42. Reshit Zhuniqi (son of Muhamet), 25
43. Qamil Zhuniqi, 72
44. Ibrahim Zhuniqi, 70
45. Abedin Zhuniqi, 36
46. Bajram Zhuniqi, 50
47. Qemajl Zhuniqi, 57
48. Hysni Zhuniqi, 62
49. Kasim Zhuniqi, 30
50. Mehdi Zhuniqi, 60
51. Ahmed Zhuniqi
52. Agim Zhuniqi, 55
53. Destal Zhuniqi, 65
54. Bilal Zhuniqi, 75
55. Shemsi Zhuniqi (son of Bilal), 52
56. Muharem Zhuniqi (son of Shemsi), 28
57. Qlirim Zhuniqi (killed in first group of 12), 40
58. Lumnije Zhuniqi, 39
59. Dhurata Zhuniqi, 10
60. Dardana Zhuniqi, 8
61. Dardan Zhuniqi, 5
62. Hysen Zhuniqi, 22

For further information contact:
Fred Abrahams: 1-212-216-1270
Holly Cartner (New York): 1-212-216-1277
Jean-Paul Marthoz (Brussels): 322-736-7838

Alarming situation of the displaced population

Malishevė, April 17th (Kosovapress) In the gorges of the mountains of Kizharekė, of Gashit, of Baicės, of Krojmirit etc, where over 40.000 inhabitants escaped from the villages of this environ because the attacks of the serbian terrorists, the health situation of the civil population is alarming. According the data offered by the medical service, at least 30 patients of all ages from this population go every day to pay a visit to the doctor. Most frequent symptoms of the diseases are: The infections of the upper respirator draft, the diseases of the digestive draft, the diseases of the urine system, hypertension, the diseases of the lungs and those of rheu-matism. All these are a consequence of the hard living conditions under tilts, because of the rainy and cold weather and because of the lack of food. The need for indispensable medicines is urgent, too. There are reports on the death of two babies, one 6 month, the other just born. Meanwhile, there are good news that in these conditions in the mountain and without the doctor's help, a baby was born (first child) of the parents Ramadan and Ganimete Nuhaj, who was baptized with the name Kastriot.

One person disappeared in Krizharekė

Komoran, April 17th (Kosovapress) Since April 3d, when the serbian terrorist forces begun their offensive in Komoran and the villages around, Fehmi (Ismail) Bajraktari (50), from the village Kizharek is disappeared. Meanwhile, after the serbian terrorist forces entered in the quarter of Bytyqėve, yesterday in Arllat has been burnt Shaban (Jahir) Krasniqi (72), paralysed, inside the house he was sheltered.

Grave situation continues to prevail in Llap

Llap, April 17th (Kosovapress) A very grave situation is actually prevailing in the Operative Zone of Llap. Since March 23th, the civil population is facing a difficult situation every day that goes on. The serbian criminal forces have attacked the civil population in the villages of Herticė, Surdull, Batllavė, Turiqicė and Orllan, villages where more than 40 000 displaced people have been concentrated. This population is again obliged to displace and to orient itself toward the villages less dangerous of Gallak, while a part of it has begun to depart toward Prishtina. The units of KLA have been obliged to evacuate the population for the sake of security, while the positions of KLA in these villages remain unbreakable and fierce fighting are taking place there. In spite of the appeals made to the international humanitarian organizations and west governments and particularly to NATO, to help 250 000 displaced people, no aid has arrived up to now in the Operative Zone of Llapi. In this Zone the displaced population is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. During the last two days, 20 persons have died, particularly children an old men. Also, according to the information of the medical personnel of this zone, the population has begun top show the first symptoms of the epidemics, particularly that of diarrhea and jaundice.

Expulsion of Albanians Accelerates

Albanian massive deportation to Albania went on even today

Komoran, April 16th (Kosovapress) Today late in the evening, in the road Prishtinė-Pejė, a ten kilometre long column, with some 400 civil automobiles, truck etc has moved in this way. This is another one massive deportation of the albanians to Albania, and the population has been taken by force from villages of Fushė Kosvės or Lipjan. The convoy was under rigorous police control. Serbian forces are using these expel people to carry on their military mechanism, particularly ammunition, in direction of the cross-border with Albania. Today serbian terrorist forces has set on fire Gadimen e Epėrme, Banullėn, Gllogocin and other villages of the commune of Lipjanit.

Fierce campaign of the ethnic cleansing in the commune of Vushtrri

Vushtrri, April 17th (Kosovapress) Yesterday afternoon, the serbian army and police have undertaken a vast action of ethnic cleansing in Nedakoc of Vushtrri, but also in other quarters of the village, obliging the inhabitants to go in the direction of Skėnderaj. The persons that have reached to escape the serbian army and police, have reached the villages of Ceceli, Sllakoc and Dumnicė e Epėrme. During all last night the movement od these people has continued. While going away, in Studime tė Poshtme, a grenade has stricken a tractor leaving these persons killed: Sylė Krasniqi from Zhilivoda (65), an old woman (75), whose name is unknown and Ibadete Lushtaku from Nevolani. During the last four days, the serbian army and police have undertaken a fierce campaign of ethnic cleansing of the east side of the region, obliging the citizens to pass in its west side. This campaign of a massive deportation, is practically the effort of the implementation of the final phase of the plan of Qosiq, to divide Kosova, proclaimed many years ago.

KLA Progress Reports

The serbian paramilitars liquidated by the KLA units.

Rahovec, April 17th (Kosovapress) One unit of the 124th Brigade "Gani Paēarizi", together with a group of fighters of the special unit of KLA, have fought hand to hand with the enemy forces for two consecutive days. On April 14th, the armed forces of KLA confronted the enemy forces, in midst of Llapēevė and Mrasor, while on April 15 at Grapi i apēevės. The sources of information of the 124th Brigade inform about 5 serbian militars killed and two military vehicles destroyed, while there were no losses from our units.

A serbian police patrol has been liquidated by a KLA unit

Vushtrri, April 16th (Kosovapress) Serbian police after taking out from their houses has killed these persons in Studime Poshtėme of Vushtrrisė: Hasan (Sadik) Rashicėn (34), Naip Rashicėn (56), Behar (Rizah) Rashicėn (17). Whereas these persons are wounded: Sadik Rashicėn (60) and Azem (Jahir) Rashicėn (34). Special unit of KLA has gone to take the cadavers of these killed persons but they faced on 6 serbian killers police mans who are liquidated by our unit. All cadavers of the killed albanians have been taken except one. Serbian military-police fascist forces, in these moments are forcing the civil population of the village of Nadakoc and some other villages of Vushtrri to gather near the graves of Vushtrri.It is supposed that they will deport them in Albania.

A convoy of serbian forces destroyed.

Vushtrri, April 17th (Kosovapress) Yesterday, about the hour 22.00, our units have undertaken a successful action against a convoy of the serbian forces with two trucks and two picgauers, in the highway Vushtrri-Prishtinė. The truck has been thoroughly destroyed and the enemy has suffered big losses in people and military technics.

Effort of serbian forces to enter in the Gorge of Gashi

Komoran, April 17th (Kosovapress) Yesterday, between the hours 15.00-18.00, the serbian terrorist forces have tried to enter in the place called Pėrroi i Thatė and in the Gorge of Gashi, where the civil population is displaced. The units of KLA reacted immediately against the serbian forces. There are reports on killed people from the enemy's ranks.

Fifteen people killed and three disappeared in the villages of Kaēanik.

Kaēanik, April 17th (Kosovapress) On April 14th, the serbian terrorist forces have undertaken a big offensive in some dwellings of the commune of Kaēanik such as Sllatinė of Lepencit, in Cakaj, in Lamaj, at Tifekėt etc. Even in this case the serbians barbarians have rushed on the civil population, placed and sheltered in the slopes of Malit tė Sharrit. Meanwhile the KLA units have done a powerful resistance against the serbian terrorist forces. In this case 13 civilians have been executed, while two soldiers of KLA have fallen defending the population. The persons killed are: Hysen (Rrustem) Elezi and Ramadan (Aziz) Xhakli, both soldiers, Nazmi (Osman) Elezi, Ilir (Osman) Caka, Vesel (Xheladin) Elezi, Mahmut (Hasan) Caka, the brothers Sabri, Kemal and Izahir (Ilaz) Salihaj, Jakup (Mustafė) Cakaj, Shyqeri (Zeqir) Halilaj, Rrahman (Salih) Lami, Nesret Lami, Qemal Deda and Ibrahim (Nebih) Lami. From the killed persons, three civilians have been massacred, while since April 14th, there are no informations about three other civil persons: Rufki (Mehė) Elezin, Fadil (Hamzė) Elezin, Hysen (Halim) Elezin. It is known that from the serbian terrorist forces there were at least 10 killed and many wounded.

The activities of the paramilitary, police forces and Yugoslavian army during yesterday along the borders with Monte Negro, Albania and FYROM.

Brussels, April 17th (Kosovapress) In the 24th day of NATO air operations against the army and other serbian-yugoslavian forces, the alliance warplanes have attacked, in whole 9 zones, from which 4 in Kosova and 5 in Serbia. The military NATO spokesman, General Giussepe Morani, has informed that have been attacked the air base of the serbian-yugoslavian army, the commanding center, bases and army garrisons. During night, the bad weather has made impossible to increase the calculated intensity for air attacks. According to the alliance officers, other boundaries were planed, which have been given up because of the weather. During the last 24 hours, have also taken place fighting activities of the serbian special, paramilitary and military forces, which were mainly concentrated in the border zone with Albania. There have also been activities of the yugoslavian army along the border with FYROM. According to the maps shown today, the paramilitary forces have had activities in the point Pejė-Mitrovicė. Activities of the combined forces, with serbian-yugoslavian army and paramilitary forces, have taken place in the points Pejė-Gjakovė. Meanwhile activities in the points Gjakovė-Prizren, Prizren-Glloboēicė and Glloboēicė-Kaēanik have been made only by the forces of the serbian army.