Massacres (Feb-March 1998)
Drenica buries 24 victims of the massacre
100 thousand people attend, many more are prevented by the police
Likoshan & Ēirez, 3 March (ARTA) 2030 CET
Around 100 thousand people participated in the burial of 24 Albanians killed during the last weekend in Drenicė. The burial was postponed till late afternoon, as the corpses of other 14 killed, ten of whom were members of the Ahmeti family, were expected to be brought from Prishtina's morgue. They were delivered from there without prior autopsy.
The reason for the delay was that other members of the Ahmeti family were detained by the police on their way to the morgue.
According to the local activists, a truck, which was headed to collect the bodies, was stopped at Komoran police check-point.
Today, the police didn't allow any vehicles to pass through the main road towards Drenicė. Many people were mistreated at this checkpoint. According to eyewitnesses, the corpses were totally massacred, and some of them were missing even some parts of their bodies.
Three of the corpses had not been identified to that point yet, therefore the activists had called all relatives of those who were suspected dead, to approach the corpses and identify them.
Surroi: "Drenica massacre was one of the worst atrocities that Kosova has seen for decades"
Prishtina, 3 March (ARTA) 2230 CET
"Hundreds of thousands of people wanted to get there, at the funeral. According to our journalists reports, there were at least 100.000 people. Tens of thousands were prevented from the police to get there, including the journalists -- some foreign journalists never made it there", said the editor-in-chief of "KOHA Ditore", Albanian Daily from Prishtina, being asked on the present situation in Prishtina today, after the police massacre in Drenica region, and the yesterdays mass protests of Kosova Albanians in Prishtina.
"It was a mourning day in Kosova", said Surroi describing the funeral event that took place in the raided Drenica villages.
As for the police attack that caused the massacre, Surroi replied that "out of the 25 people who were killed, I can assure you that all of them -- absolutely all -- were victims of the massacre by the Serbian authorities. This is one of the worst atrocities that Kosova has seen in this decade."
What should be the message from UK Foreign Minister, Robin Cook to Milosevic, at their scheduled meeting for tomorrow in Belgrade? -- was another question, for which Surroi thinks "the message that mr. Cook should have towards Belgrade is not that the EU will not be linking itself with what is called Yugoslavia in economic relations, meaning that Belgrade cannot count on good economic relations with EU." Surroi argues that "there should be more offensive approach in telling mr. Milosevic that he is endangering the regional security, and that (Kosova) is becoming a very highlighted matter of interest to Western powers, including, of course, the EU", stating further that Milosevic should count "not only on the financial consequences, but also on political consequences and those concerning questions of security, as well -- meaning the NATO interests in the region.
Recalling the horror
Likoshan, Qirez, Drenicė, 2 March (ARTA)
After the police attack on Drenica region, the situation in villages nearby seems to be more quiet today.
There are no police forces to be seen around the region. Roads leading to Gllogoc (settlement 40km east from Prishtinė) are still empty. But, the road linking this part of Drenica with villages of Likoshan and Qirez was full of local people, heading to express their condolences to the families which lost the loved ones.
Total confusion and sorrow continue in the house of Islam Gjeli.
"My children and I hid in the washroom, to avoid the bullets", says the widow of the killed Naser Islam Gjeli (M).
"Naser's father was killed too", said the villagers, gathered in this place. "The old man (72), was in the room located in front of the garden. That's where he was killed", says the widow. "After half an hour, I couldn't stand it anymore, so I got out of the washroom, where I was hiding my children. That's when I saw my husband who was dead by that time...my children saw him too. Then the police took me and my children and sent us to our neighbors house. I don't know what happened with bodies of my husband and his father", she explains, deeply distressed, and eventually loosing her conscience.
Further up the hill were other houses, in which the Serb police had also broken in.
The house of Ahmeti family appeared deserted. There was no information whatsoever on the whereabouts of the 10 men of this family, and their guest.
Blood stains, broken bones and other body parts could be made out in the crossroads, close to the house.
A long column of people was heading towards the village of Qirez, nearly connected to the village of Likoshan. There were rumors that 8 corpses of those killed were in that village.
The Sejdiu family house yard was overcrowded with all of them waiting to get into one of the house's rooms where the bodies of the four killed brothers lied.
One of the baskets in the garden, filled with corn, lied overturned. A man, claiming to be related with the Sejdiu family, and who had been in hiding close by, says: "It was hit by an APC". "In that basket was one of the sons of the Sejdiu family, who died then".
"The other one hid behind the other basket of corn and died after being shot at", he continues.
"The other two Sejdiu sons were killed in the valley, behind the house that is being built, where they tried to hide among the bushes", says his cousin.
"A helicopter circled above the house and people shot from up there during the whole time", say the locals gathered close to the victims' house.
An appalling sight was also in Sefer Nebihu's household, whose son, Naser and his wife, Rukije were killed. He himself suffers severe wounds.
"They entered the garden in an APC and forced their way up to the window", recalls wounded Sefer. "The entire family was gathered: my wife, my son, his wife and our grandchildren", he continues.
"The policemen in the APCs kept shooting, as other policemen broke into the house,ordering us to get out and lie on the ground", he says.
"We freezed on the ground for about four hours, until they were gone. My other son, Ilir, was in his own house when the police took him and we still do not know what happened to him", concludes Sefer.
Sefer was being taken care of by doctors who came to the village in search for the wounded people.
"We have to take him to a hospital", one of them claimed.
Hata, Sefer's wife gave us the same information, only one could make out that she was very distressed.
"They came close to the house with a tank -- or whatever it is -- shooting at us. They killed my son and his wife, and they wounded my husband...", she recalled, turning her head the other way to hide her tears.
Police executed the entire Ahmeti family men -- from 16 to 50 years old
Likoshan 2 March (ARTA) 1328 CET
Corpses of 9 members of the Ahmeti family, arrested and executed during the withdrawal of the Serb police forces from the region of Likoshan, are now in Prishtina's city morgue, unofficial sources claim.
The oldest member of this family is 16 while the oldest 50 years old. Ten members of the Ahmeti family and a guest from Gradica were arrested, according to the information issued on 1 March by CDHRF.
Serbs police massacred the Albanians of Drenica region, in the thorny bushes nearby Ahmeti's house (five meters from the demolished garden gate).
Five or six big blood stains, broken teeth, brains all over the place, a piece of human jaw hanging down from the bushes, bullets of different calibers, are seen at the "scene of the crime",as villagers calls it. The bush is large over 3 m. square.
The police slaughtered them to death using shotguns and other hard and sharp objects, confirms the witnesses.
The corpses of the father, Muhamet Isuf Gjeli (79) and the brother Naser Muhamet Gjeli (39) brought in from the morgue of Prishtina by their relative, Kadri Gjeli, were lying down in the first floor of his house. Kadris house close to that of the victims was also attacked by the Serb police.
They were killed in separate rooms, inside of the house. The police got in the house of Muhamet Isuf Gjeli and shot dead Muhamed and Naser, say the villagers.
Signs of the tank chains could be traced in the entrance of Likoshan, coming in front the direction of Gllogoc.
From what it could be seen, the police withdrew entirely from the villages that were a target of the uncontrolled police attack.
Today, at 1200 CET, from the police station of Gllogoc, Fehmi Hasan (Gjeli), and Fatmir Islami (Gjeli), who were kidnaped on Sunday morning (around 1100 CET), were released. Both have severe body injuries.
The exact number of the Drenica massacre victims is still unknown. There are unconfirmed information that at the city morgue in Prishtina lies another corpse that came in from the village of Boks.
There are fears that the total toll of victims will exceed 20.
"Mr.Gelbard is guilty of this, also!"
Likoshan, 2 March (ARTA)
In the villages of Drenica, people were more than depressed. Their faces were tired from the miseries they are facing everyday.
What is going to happen next...? Who is going to save this nation...? are asking people of Drenica...
"Mr. Gelbard has to realize that this is his fault, as well. When he stated that there is terrorism in Kosova, he allowed the opportunity for Serbia to intervene against those he marked as terrorists. What they did was only massacring of innocent people."
"Let Mr. Gelbard for once know: we are not terrorists, after all. We have no weapons, we killed nobody and we don't wish to do that. All we want is to be able to live freely in our own land, own houses, and in our own property...", said an old man.
"They wanted to kill the entire village"
Likoshan and Ēikatovė, Drenicė, 2 March (ARTA) - 2050 CET
Today, the situation in the villages of Drenica region (40 km west of Prishtina) seems calmer, after the crackdown that took place on the late Friday eve and which lasted unitil early Sunday afternoon.
16 Albanian civilians are confirmed killed during the massacre, although the very next day after the raid no policemen were to be seen in an around villages.
The streets of Gllogoc were empty, but the endless line of people was heading for Likoshan and Ēikatovė -- to express condolences to the families of the killed Albanians.
In Likoshan, the household of the Islamgjeli was overcrowded. "I took my children and hid in the bathroom, trying to escape the bullets", says the wife of the killed Naser Islamgjeli.
"I came out after some time, and I saw my husband laying down, dead".
"It was then when the police came and took me and my children to our neighbors'. I don't know what happened with my husband's and my father in law's bodies. The latter was also killed, in the other part of the yard", she explains, deeply distressed.
The long chain of people was heading to Qirez.
Here too, there were killed people laying. In the household of the Sejdiu, in one of the rooms were laying the corpses of four killed Sejdiu brothers.
One of the corn baskets was torn down, "it was hit by an armored vehicle", states a youngster, who hid in the stable while the attack took place. "One of the Sejdiu boys was hiding in the basket, and he was killed". Another of the sons was hiding behind another corn basket, while two others were killed as they were running towards some bushes".
Another terrifying scene was that at the Nebiu household. Son Naser and his wife Rukie were killed while father Sefer was wounded.
"They first broke into the garden on the armored vehicle, and came as close as the window frames", says wounded Sefer.
"The whole family was in the room, my wife and I, my son and his wife as well as my grandchildren", he continues.
"They shot once from the APC, and then came the other policemen, who were standing by the window - he tells - and forced us to go out. They told us to lay on our stomachs and not move".
"Thus we laid over four hours, until the police left. Our other son, Ilir, who was in his house, at the other side of the yard, was taken by the police and we don't know what has happened to him", concludes old Sefer. "They wanted to kill the entire village".
28 hours of massacre
Likoshan, Drenicė, 28 Feb -1 March (ARTA)
Since there was no other way to reach Drenicė, we decided to travel by train. In the train traveling in the relation Fushė Kosovė-Gllogovc, where we met some old men from Drenicė, exchanging words about the latest events in their villages. One of the men was from the village of Gllanasellė, an hour away from Likoshan, where the "war" supposedly had begun. We traveled with that man until he arrived to Gllanasella, where he got off, and continued our journey to Likoshan, this time accompanied by youngsters. When we got close to Likoshan we could see columns of people going in the direction of the houses of the destroyed. Only a few minutes past our arrival, a large number of people gathered and started walking on the street, maybe because they felt unsure. Everyone of them gazed at us with doubt as we showed them our journalist ID cards. Immediately after entering the village, it became clear that most of the people had abandoned their houses and that a large number of them were frightened to return to their houses, destroyed by police grenade launchers. A number of them still stayed at the outskirts, where they had gone to hide from the police expedition. "How did the conflict begin?", we asked the local villagers.
The "conflict" by the Six Oaks..
On 28 February, claim the villagers, a "Passat" was parked close to the school, side by side with another vehicle full of policemen. That is where the chase of supposed members of KLA began, only to end up in the village of Likoshan, in a place the locals call "Six Oaks". That is where, the locals assert, the fighting began between the police and a group of young people the locals referred to as "ours".
That is the scene where heavy shooting took place, and a couple of policemen were killed, according to the villagers.
Since a short time after the group of young people went into the forest, the police started shooting in the direction of the houses nearby. In a very short time, helicopters along with 39 APCs arrived in the village of Likoshan. Heavy shooting, mostly from helicopters, began against the houses of defenseless civilians. Only in the villages of Likoshan and Qirez, 11 people were shot dead, claim the villagers.
During this attack, Muhamet I. Xheli (age unknown, M) and Naser M. Xheli (age unknown, M), father and son were shot dead, and their corpses were taken by the police. The blood stains on the floor confirm that their bodies were dragged by the police. From Adem Ahmeti's (age unknown, M) household, all male members of the family above age 15 were taken. It's presumed that there were over ten persons. This village was object of heavy shooting, and the villagers were also mistreated by the police.
Someone had resisted during the whole time.
The villagers assert that two men, about which we still have no information, were tied to poles and were beaten to death. Their whereabouts are still unknown. Unidentified persons had resisted the police during the whole time, claim the local inhabitants. The real massacre, say the villagers, was in the village of Qirez, where houses were attacked from APCs. Beqir Sjediu (31, M), Nazmi Sejdiu (1975, M), Bedri Sejdiu (1975, M), Bekim Sejdiu (1974, M), all brothers, were killed in their own houses. Xhemshir S. Nebihu and his wife Rukije Nebihu, and Rexhep Rexhepi (M), and Beqir Rexhepi (M), uncle and nephew, were also killed in the same village.
Innocent passers-by in these villages were detained by the police. The villagers notify that the police detained Tahir Tahiri (M), in Qirez, Rexhep Ajeti (a guest) was taken while standing in Ahmet Ahmeti's garden, whereas Idriz Tahiri was taken while selling cigarettes in Qirez.
Not one house was spared from bullets of different calibers.
A harsh "war" took place in the village of Likoshan, more precisely in the place called "Six Oaks", in Krasmirovc, Polac and other villages where many were killed, claim the inhabitants. The population of these villages, was alarmed the whole time, whereas a big number of them escaped in the mountains surrounding the village, from where they observed the action.
The most horrible event took place in the house of Skėnder (Muharrem) Xheli (age unknown, M)
His house was used by the police as a place to rest, says Skėnder. "While the police was singing, eating and drinking, I along with Fatmir (M) and Fehmi (M) Xheli hid in the attic of the house. This went on for 24 hours", ends Skėnder Xheli from the village Qirez.