KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (operation ends)
Police operation ends -- death toll rises to 20
Albanian civilians killed in recent police attackPrishtina 1 March (ARTA) -- 2000 CET
Numerous police and military APCs, numbering several hundreds of policemen and reportedly VJ soldiers withdrew from the region of Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina) around 1700 CET, as local human rights groups and media report on over 14 Albanian civilian victims -- the death toll of the two-day operation.
It is claimed that the joint operation of Serb security forces and military units -- which started on the eve of the last weekend (Friday 27 Feb.), continuing until late hours of Sunday, 1 March -- overrun several villages of Likoshan, Çikatovë e Re, Çikatovë e Vjetër, Qirez, and many other settlements in the surrounding of Gllogoc and Skenderaj, main towns of this 95 per cent Albanian-inhabited region.
14 Albanians are killed, the CDHRF reports. The Serbian Ministry of the Interior , has reported that 4 policemen and 16 Albanians ("terrorists") were killed. The number of killed may be larger.
The number of wounded remains unknown, as witnesses claim of dozens of Albanian villagers, who were brought in local Prishtina clinics, in critical condition from firearm wounds.
According to information from the field, the situation in the attacked region is calming down as the Serb police withdrawal continues.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (death toll rises)
Four brothers killed instantly
Prishtinë, 1 March (ARTA) - 2030 CET
According to the Human Rights Council (CDHRF) updated information, during the Serb police attack on Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), names of 3 following Albanians, killed in the village of Likoshan, are reported:
1. Muhamet Xhela (70) (M)
Also, in the village of Qirez, the following Albanian civilians were killed:
1. Beqir Sejdiu (M) (age unknown)
Albanian Sefer Sejdiu was reported severely wounded, whereas there is no information on Xhemshir Nebihu's brother, Nebi.
The police gunfire caused the wounding of Hajdin Makolli (58), Albanian from the village Çikatova e Vjetër.
The following Albanians were arrested in Likoshan: Ahmet Ahmeti (50, male), Gani Ahmeti (46, male), Elmi Ahmeti (44, male), Hamëz Ahmeti (44, male), Driton Ahmeti (23, male), Naim Ahmeti (22, male), Lumni Ahmeti (20, male), Shemsi Ahmeti (19, male), Basri Ahmeti (19, male), Elhami Ahmeti (16, male), and Behram Fazliu (50, male), from the village of Gradica.
The overall death toll remains unknown, as local sources report of around 20 killed Albanians.
It is also reported that the massive police forces started withdrawing from the region in the late afternoon hours.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (protest)
Mass protest in Prishtina scheduled for 1000 CET
The protest will be concentrated around the city centerPrishtinë, 1 March (ARTA) - 2030 CET
Massive protests of Kosova Albanian citizens in Prishtina are announced for Monday morning (2 March), from the Coordinating Council of Kosova Albanian political parties in Prishtina -- due to the recent police attack on the region of Drenica (40 km west of Prishtina), in aftermath of which, around 20 Albanian civilians are reported killed.
The protest, according to the organizers, "is an expression of the indignation" of the Kosova Albanian citizens, after the bloody toll of the "Serb military intervention".
The scheduled protest will last one hour.
The organizing council of the protests -- including the Independent Students' Union, the Independent Trade Unions, the Parlamentary Party of Kosova and several political parties and associations -- states that the protest will be held all over the capital -- however, it will concentrate on the streets "that gravitate around the city center"
Also, the statement was issued for one-day dismissal of classes at elementary schools, as high school students were pleaded participation at the protests.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (Rugova reaction)
Kosova Albanian leader vows support for the tomorrow's protests
Prishtinë, 1 March (ARTA) 2030 CET
Isa Kastrati, chairman of the Coordinating Council of political parties for Prishtina, cited the support by the Kosova Albanian leader, the chairman of the Democratic League of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova.
"Faced with the situation in which the determination of the participants to organize the mass protests appears irrevocable, he (Rugova) agreed to support the event", stated Kastrati to "Koha Ditore" daily.
Mass protests, scheduled for tomorrow 1000 CET are organized from the main political and non-political Kosova Albanian-run associations -- due to the recent bloody events that took place in Drenica region (40 km west of Prishtina), where around 20 Albanian civilians are reported killed during the mass police raid which started early this weekend.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (Kosova Government reaction)
Emergency headquarters to be established urgently
"In these circumstances, the Government calls all political parties to unite and take control over the situation in Kosova, by establishing an emergency headquarters, with a broad basis..."Bonn, 1 March (ARTA)
The Government of the Republic of Kosova, in a communique issued following the police attack on Drenicë, stresses that the attack "against the innocent and defenseless civilian population of Kosova proves that the criminal and terrorist Serbian regime is allowed to try and repeat what it did in Bosnia and Herzegovina".
The Serbian regime, according to the statement issued by the Government of the Republic of Kosova, has not learned anything from previous Yugoslav conflicts, "that Serb lies and inventions, to justify each of their, supposedly, anti-terrorist motivated actions, seem to be acceptable".
The Government of the Republic of Kosova expresses it's indignation and condemns "these barbarious attacks without exceptions, against the defenseless innocent Albanian people of Kosova".
"In these circumstances, the Government calls all political parties to unite and take control over the situation in Kosova, by establishing an emergency headquarters, with a broad basis, with clear duties and responsibilities, including urgent contacts with all embassies in Belgrade, with all accredited media in Belgrade and Prishtina and dispatching people to the field immediately to evaluate the situation and giving the adequate assistance.
The Government of the Republic of Kosova, "calls the people affected by Serbian criminals, to defend themselves with all the means at their disposal, and it also calls the people of Kosova to show, in all possible ways, their solidarity and support towards the attacked population, the families of all killed and wounded to whom the government expresses it's deepest condolences".
The government is determined to immediately fulfil all it's obligations "within the possibilities and it's mandate to offer all the possible assistance to the affected population".
"The last military aggression, confirms once again, that the politics of genocide applied by Belgrade against the Albanian people of Kosova, and which has been tolerated for so long, is escalating from an un-started war, into an open conflict", states the communique.
The Government of the Republic of Kosova urges the international community, especially the USA, the EU and the Contact Group, to condemn this open and tragic aggression against Kosova Albanians, and to exert pressure over Serbia to stop it's militarist and genocidal politics against Albanians in Kosova...
In the end, the Government of Kosova also calls on the free and independent media of the West "to fully comply with it's obligations and urgently and precisely inform about the daily events in Kosova", states the communique issued by the Government of Kosova.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Kosova (local celebrities reaction)
Drenica dignitaries visits the USIS office in Prishtina
Skënderaj, 1 March (ARTA) - 1920 CET
A delegation of Albanian intellectuals and dignitaries from the Drenica region, including Imer Halimi, Hajdar Rreci, Islam Krasniqi and Shaqir Berani, visited the USIS office in Prishtina today, in the aftermath of the massive police attack on this region, 40 km west of Kosova capital.
The delegation was received by the USIS officials, who were briefed on the actual situation in Drenicë, with a special emphasis on the events registered in the two past days.
After the visit, American officials stated that they will inform the American Government on the bloody events.
KOSOVA -- Police attack on Drenica - hospitals
Wounded brought to hospital -- by helicopters
Supposedly, only the wounded policemen were among those who were brought for intensive health care, at the Prishtina hospital which is still under complete police blockadePrishtinë, 1 March (ARTA)
All the entrances to Prishtina's main hospital were blocked by the Serbian police, because of, as reported, continuous influx of wounded from the Drenica region, object of continuous Serbian police attacks in the past two days.
The information on the number of the wounded is not available, but from the patients in the hospital, most of them Albanians, it is understood that the patients were transported to the hospital in police helicopters.
Witnesses and doctors in the Prishtina hospital inform about two Serb policemen who were severely wounded, and in critical condition, are currently being treated in the hospital.
It was also said that the majority of the patients brought to the hospital were Serb policemen, who have run into resistance of the local population, but also, as it is stated, of the KLA forces, in Drenicë.
A patient claims that on Saturday evening, four corpses were brought to the hospital morgue - it is supposed that these were killed policemen.
The Serb police attack on Drenica region, (45 km northwest of Prishtina), started late Friday evening (27 February), reaching its peak on March 1st.
It is supposed that the mounting number of victims has already reached 20 killed Albanian civilians.
KOSOVA--Police attack on Drenica (Rugova statement)
Albanian leader vows to US and EU for mounting pressure over Belgrade
Prishtinë, 1 March (ARTA)
Ibrahim Rugova, Kosova Albanian political leader (chairman to the LDK - main Kosova Albanian political party), condemned the "attack of the Serb forces in the district of Gllogovc and Skenderaj", reffering to the two-days joint police and military action over the region of Drenica (45 km northwest of Prishtina), which is, according to "Koha Ditore" sources, still continues in and around villages of Cikatova e Vjeter and Likoshan.
In his statement, Rugova demands "immediate end of actions against the Albanian population", vowing to the United States government, as well as the member states of European Union "to exercise pressure on Belgrade, for the immediate end of this action".
"The action of violence towards the Albanians of Drenica is forced with the aim of spreading fear and panic among the Kosova Albanian population, which remains determined in its efforts for seeking peaceful solution to the Kosova problem", stated Rugova.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (toll)
Another wounded Albanian as police troops withdrew
Albanian Hajdin Makolli (58) from the village Cikatove e Vjeter was wounded in front of his house as the police forces were withdrawingGllogoc, 1 March (ARTA) - Hajdin Makolli (58), Albanian, was wounded as the police troops were withdrawing from Çikatovë e Vjetër village (10 km from Gllogoc), around 16.30 CET, claim sources of "Koha Ditore" daily.
The number of police vehicles that withdrew from this region, reached around 60.
Earlier, killing of an Albanian woman was reported in the village of Likoshan, Gllogoc municipality.
Woman was pregnant at the moment of death.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica -- (Protest scheduled for 18:00 CET)
Albanian Women's League organizes a protest in front of USIS
Prishtina 1 March (ARTA)
The Kosova Albanian Women's League, local women association called for a protest to be held in front of the United States Information Center building, in Prishtina, at 18:00 CET.
Flora Brovina, chairman to KAWL, stated that the protest is being held `to express the growing indignity of the Albanian population against the police attack on Drenica".
It is presumed that around 20 Albanian civilians are killed in the Serb police attack on this area (45 km northwest of Prishtina) which started on the eve of 27th February.
KOSOVA: Police attack on Drenica (analysis)
Kosova has 13.000 Serb police forces -- 25.000 reinforcement units can be transferred from central Serbia within 72 hours
Prishtina, 1 March (ARTA)
In Kosova, Serbian Interior Ministry has around 13,000 policemen armed with paramilitary equipment, including APCs and armed helicopters. Around 25,000 police reinforcements and reserve units could be transferred from central Serbia within 72 hours.
Yugoslav Army has around 6,500 men in Kosova, mainly around the border and in four major garrisons.
Plans for deployment foresee 10,000 troops from Nis, Leskovac and Uzice, as the first wave which is to include 4,000 men from the reserve units, theoretically, ready for action in Kosova.
But in practice, the army has expressed it's reluctance to undertake such actions since Kosova is considered to be an internal and political issue, meaning that it is in the competence of the police.
The third and most unpredictable element of the Serbian forces are the volunteers and the paramilitary. Even though most of the police units that operated in Croatia and Bosnia have been dispersed, at least two of those are ready for Kosova if their "bosses" decide for action. The best organized police, that has already withdrawn, but according to reports is "ready" for action in Kosova, is the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG), better known as "Tigrovi" ("Tigers"), under the command of Zeljko (Arkan) Raznjatovic. "The Tigers", consisting of about 400 hostile fighters with considerable experience and proved to have committed ethnic cleansing, can be called in for operations which neither the police nor the Army want to be connected to. The only other organization that could organize a police would be Vojislav Seselj's extreme rightist party, Radical Party of Serbia (SRS).
There is no doubt that the Ministry of Interior has enough manpower and equipment to encompass all of Kosova, but it's decision not to undertake action, reflects the lack of clear politics and indirectly implies that the Interior Ministry's units are not prepared, or trained to confront the opposing terrorists or guerrillas, let alone some mass uprising such as an Intifada.
There are many clear signs that Serb politicians are pressuring the interior ministry for actions, but, the two operations they undertook in the region of Drenica by the end of January, prove that the method to resist KLA has not yet been found. In both cases, Serbian police convoys with APCs and around 100 armed policemen have surrounded houses in the village outskirts and opened fire for several hours, killing at least one person and wounding several others. After such confrontations, the Interior Ministry has raided several private houses, arresting men over the age of sixteen, confiscating arms, but not being able to obstruct KLA activities. It seems that the Ministry has realized the futility of such an approach and has given it up.
On the other hand, the decreasing number of Serbian police in Kosova, has encouraged the local inhabitants of the region of Drenica to overestimate their power and significance. Drenica is a region of around 1200 square kilometers, with a population of about 60,000, 95 percent of whom are Albanians. The region is mountainous with some forests and can be reached by six roads. It is totally unsuitable for a serious guerilla headquarters: the main road that connects Kosova with the plain of Dukagjin and Montenegro, divides the region in two and Serbia would not allow any impediment in traffic. Also, north of Drenica is Serbia, that makes strategic withdrawal impossible. This could be considered as KLA's operation to "demonstrate force" in order to boost the will of Kosova Albanians and force the Serbs to act. Courageous tactic, militarily shrewd, since whatever the Serbs do, they cannot win.
Kosova: Police attack over Drenica
Drenica under police/military siege -- Fightings reported around Çiçavica mountain
Prishtina, 1 March (ARTA) -- 16.00 CET
The Prishtina Human Rights Council HRC confirms 5 names out of over 15 Albanians who were killed during the massive police attack over Drenica region (40 km northwest of Prishtina)
All reported victims came from the same village, Qirez (15 km from Gllogoc - main settlement in Drenica):