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[ALBSA-Info] Kosovo Liberation Army arming guerrilla group from within Greece

Iris Pilika ipilika at
Sun Jun 3 15:15:11 EDT 2001

Albanian irredentism on the Net
Reports claim Kosovo Liberation Army arming guerrilla group from within 
Greece; government is dismissive

By Miron Varouhakis
Kathimerini English Edition

News reports claiming that the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army was 
arming an Albanian guerrilla group inside Greece to "defend" the rights of 
Albanians were dismissed by government officials this week. But the claims 
highlighted what appears to be a growing agitation movement over the 
Internet. The Foreign Ministry and government spokesmen responded to a 
report over the Internet by a news agency of the Former Yugoslav Republic of 
Macedonia (FYROM) on comments ostensibly made by a Switzerland-based 
representative of the KLA to Australian radio.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis reacted angrily on Wednesday, 
charging that "the sick imaginations of some terrorist elements who are 
trying to raise non-existent issues have no limits."

On Thursday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas played down the report. 
"We don't give it more importance than necessary, because otherwise we are 
playing their game," said Reppas. He noted, though, that "we are watching 
closely the statements and actions of certain groups."

The officials were referring to comments ostensibly made last week by KLA 
representative Ali Ahmeti regarding the existence of a "Camouria Liberation 
Army" in northwestern Greece, which is ready to "defend" the rights of 
ethnic Albanians living in the region. He reportedly told an Australian 
radio station that the rights of the Albanians living in northwestern Greece 
should be "defended" by the representatives of the "already established and 
well-trained Camouria Liberation Army."

Yesterday Ahmeti denied that he had made such comments in an interview with 
the BBC.

Playing the issue down

Government officials were clear in their statements that no such group 
exists in the region, and that the Albanian government has discredited the 
actions of paramilitary groups such as the KLA and National Liberation Army 
waging a rebellion in FYROM.

For the record, the Cams (pronounced "Chams") were a group of Albanians who 
lived in the northwestern Greek province of Thesprotia (with the 1926 
population census putting their number at 19,605). During the Italian and 
German occupation of Greece in World War II, they cooperated with the 
invaders, leading to their flight to Albania after the war. They were 
condemned in absentia by a court and their land expropriated. Some of them 
have formed pressure groups in Albania but Athens has rejected any effort by 
Tirana to raise such an issue.

On the Internet, though, Albanian groups appear to have launched an 
"information campaign" to put pressure on Greece on an issue that Athens 
says does not exist. Various groups present maps depicting a "Greater 
Albania" which includes a large area of northwestern Greece, and forums 
promoting the "repatriation" of ethnic Albanians.

On one website ( one reads: "A large number of Cam 
population is situated on the seaside and goes up to the Gulf of Preveza. 
Another considerable number of towns and villages are situated on both sides 
of the river 'Kalamait.' The rest of the Cam villages and towns are situated 
in more remote places and often on hills and mountains... The Greek 
government has been very hostile toward Cams and the main reason is the fact 
that Cams have a very strong Albanian identity... To this day we Cams in 
Greece are described as bad people from an increasing 'suffocating' Greek 
propaganda based on the fact that we refuse to be assimilated as is the case 
with some of 'Arvanites' in south and central Greece."

The rather new website (it has had just 11 visits so far) also carries maps 
of what it calls "Chameria" and illustrations of historic Cam warriors. 
Another website is that of the Boston-based Frosina Information Network 
(, an electronic forum which Albanians 
use to exchange ideas over current affairs. In the section titled "Albanians 
in Greece" one reads: "The Albanians in Greece are divided in two 
categories: Albanians who live on Albanian territory but who have remained 
outside of the unjust borders which were drawn up by the Ambassadorial 
Conference of London (1913), and those Albanians who departed Albanian 
territory during the first diaspora in the 14th and 15th centuries."

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