Related topics

New Kosovo Atrocity Evidence Cited

September 2, 1999

PRISTINA Yugoslavia (AP) _ New evidence of past atrocities in Kosovo emerged Thursday with reports that 50 bodies were found buried in a garbage dump in the province’s southwest.

At a field outside Ljubizda, a blue plastic tarp covered what appeared to be parts of rotting clothing that reeked of decomposing flesh. The tarp _ at the foot of one of several mounds cordoned off by police tape _ was anchored on all sides by heavy stones and piles of earth.

A human femur lay exposed in a nearby pit, littered with a child’s shoe and several plastic bottles.

No international troops or foreign forensic experts were in sight. But a local farmer, saying he was repeating what he had been told by others, said the graves contained bodies of ethnic Albanians killed in April by Serb forces.

``The Serbs dug a deep hole and put Albanians in it _ men, women and children _ and dropped in a grenade,″ said Abedin Ademi. ``They buried those who were killed and those who were injured even if they were still alive . ... Everybody knows that is how it happened.″

In London, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said only that British troops had unearthed the bodies of 50 victims from the dump at Ljubizda, southwest of Pristina.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci urged an end to ethnic Albanian revenge attacks on Serbs and called for Serbs to come back to Kosovo on Thursday.

``We are interested in establishing in Kosovo a multiethnic society,″ he said after meeting with Cook in London.

His comments were sure to be ignored by Serbs in Kosovo and elsewhere, who blame the KLA for anti-Serb violence since Milosevic’s troops left in June as part of a peace agreement to end the NATO bombing.

Most of the 200,000 Serbs who lived in Kosovo before the war have fled, amid dozens of killings, abductions and other violence directed at them to avenge the deaths of more than 10,000 ethnic Albanians during the 18-month crackdown by Milosevic’s forces.

Reflecting continued Serb-Albanian tensions, Serbs demanding NATO protection and protesting the disappearance of one of their own blocked a main road near Gracanica, south of Pristina, on Thursday after roughing up six people.

Serbs said they erected the barricade Wednesday, a day after 41-year-old Milorad Popovic disappeared.

NATO troops said Serbs beat up six people when they tried to drive through the village Wednesday afternoon. An ethnic Albanian doctor in Pristina who treated them said they were five Kosovo Albanians and a Bulgarian woman married to a Kosovo Albanian.

In other ethnic violence, NATO said a Gypsy family of four was found dead of gunshot wounds Wednesday in Gornji Dragolevci. Kosovo Albanians accuse Gypsies, or Roma, of being Serb allies.

A Serb man was killed and another injured in an ambush Wednesday near Kosovska Mitrovica, and three Serbs were injured in a grenade attack on their house, NATO said.

In Belgrade, a radical ally of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic accused the United States of being allied with Kosovo Albanian ``murderers, drug traffickers and terrorists″ wreaking violence on Kosovo Serbs.

Deputy Serbian Premier Vojislav Seselj said Yugoslav army and Serb police forces who withdrew from Kosovo under the peace agreement should return peacefully ``as soon as possible,″ adding: ``If there are no peaceful means available, we shall have to find other ways.″

Meanwhile, in Pristina, KLA commander Agim Ceku said his forces are almost completely demilitarized, more than two weeks before the Sept. 19 deadline.

However, he said his forces would not completely disarm. ``Disarmament and demilitarization are two completely different words,″ he said.

The KLA is permitted to keep rifles and other small arms, but Ceku also has said the KLA will form Kosovo’s new army _ something not foreseen under the peace deal.

Update hourly