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Red Cross Seeks Missing Kosovars

August 30, 1999

GENEVA (AP) _ The International Red Cross said Monday that it still has many reports of missing people from Kosovo to investigate, even after registering 2,000 prisoners held by Serb authorities.

Some of the detainees were already in Serbia before the war, some were transferred during the war and others were taken out when Serbian forces withdrew, said Edith Baeriswyl, the former ICRC head of mission in the province.

Pierre Kraehenbuehl, head of the ICRC Task Force for the Balkans, said there could be more detainees in Serbia.

The ICRC will not give a figure for the number still missing in the province. However, it is likely that many thousands of people are still unaccounted for, and some Albanians claim there are another 5,000 people being held prisoner.

Work to identify the dead, including those in mass graves, still has to be completed, the ICRC said.

Baeriswyl said there are about 200 prisoners being held by KFOR troops. The ICRC had also registered several dozen reports of people being held by Kosovo Albanian forces, but it was ``extraordinarily difficult″ to say if there were prisoners in Albanian hands, she said.

``There is no precise information, though we have followed up some leads,″ said Baeriswyl.

Kraehenbuehl said it was still not clear when the prisoners would be released.

``The problem is that at the end of the war, when the agreement was drawn up, the subject of prisoners was not considered,″ he said.

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