European Mission Leaves Kosovo; 80 Students Detained
Jun. 02, 1989
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A fact-finding mission from the European Parliament abandoned efforts to check on human rights abuses reported in Kosovo province and left Belgrade on Thursday, its task unfulfilled, a member said.
Danish deputy Frode Kristoffersen said authorities thwarted attempts by the five-member delegation to meet ethnic Albanian dissidents.
A senior police officer in Pristina, capital of the troubled southern province, said after the detention of about 80 students on Thursday that police in Kosovo are determined to quell further unrest. He said police raided Pristina university dormitories early Thursday, detaining suspected leaders of the unrest.
The action prompted most of the 4,500 students to leave the university hostels for home in fear of reprisals.
The students had defied emergency measures forbidding demonstrations in the province to protest alleged harassment of ethnic Albanians by Yugoslav authorities.
''We are leaving with our task unfulfilled and with a feeling of frustration because we were not given a chance to meet with people in Kosovo who hold opinions which differ from official ones,'' Kristoffersen said.
''We will recommend that another European delegation visit Kosovo this fall to further study the situation.''
A state of emergency was proclaimed in Kosovo two months ago when 60,000 ethnic Albanians demonstrated to protest constitutional changes limiting self- government here and giving the republic of Serbia, of which Kosovo is a part, a greater say in Kosovo's affairs.
Serbian authorities said the measures were needed to prevent persecution of the Slav minority by ethnic Albanians, who make up 85 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million inhabitants.
At least 24 people, including two policemen, died in rioting that followed adoption of the amendments. About 900 ethnic Albanians were arrested for their part in the protests, and 237 others were detained without trial in Serbia and Kosovo.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, during the European mission's visit, thousands of students gathered around their dormitories to demand the release of Albanians arrested in previous unrest. Police broke up the protest Wednesday night with tear gas and baton charges.
One person was reported killed in an exchange of gunfire when demonstrators confronted police Tuesday in nearby Podujevo.
Premier Ante Markovic had met the parliamentarians mission and promised he would have six Kosovo deputies who voted against the controversial legislation flown to Belgrade. But regional authorities foiled the plan. Kristoffersen said his group rejected an offer to see two other deputies instead.
The delegation returned to Belgrade Wednesday, cutting short its planned three-day visit to the province.
The federal republic of Yugoslavia comprises the six republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, and the two autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina.
The Belgrade daily Borba reported Thursday that a band of about 15 ''heavily armed members of the Albanian chauvinist and separatist movement'' from villages around Podujevo are hiding in a forest, ''ready for anything.'' It said these ''terrorists'' twice blew up high-voltage power lines in the area and wrote ''enemy slogans'' calling on the Albanian population ''to take up arms and rise against Yugoslavia and the republic of Serbia.''