Serbia Info
UN force officials meet Serbian community in Gnjilane

March 11, 2000

GNJILANE, Serbia, March 10 (Tanjug) - The security situation in Gnjilane has greatly deteriorated, with the result that Serbs have started to move out of the area in large numbers, it was noted at a meeting of local Serb and U.N. representatives, said Church National Council of Gnjilane.

The Serbian Church Council in Gnjilane, as quoted by amateur radio operators, said that Serbs in Trnicevac and other villages in the Novo Brdo area have scheduled for Monday their exodus en masse, prompted by ethnic Albanian terrorists' storming the village five days ago and brutally beating up 14 Serbs.

The same source said ethnic Albanian terrorists on Thursday gravely injured one Bojan Pavic, aged 16, who had been with a group of his friends on the outskirts of the village of Silovo near Gnjilane.

Similar incidents have deepened the Serbs' distrust of KFor, and have prompted them to refuse KFor's offer that 23 Serbs work alongside ethnic Albanians at an industrial facility outside the Serb village of Stanisor near Gnjilane. The villagers fear the Serbs would not be safe among the numerically stronger ethnic Albanians.

The deputy chief of the main administrator for Gnjilane informed the Serbian community that both Administrative Council and Municipality Council will start their work and their aim will be to protect Serbs' interests.

Captain Fleming offered a KFOR escort on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. for moving of Serbian vehicles from Gnjilane towards municipality of Bujanovac. He also determined that the number of the vehicles couldn't be bigger than 15, in order to be able to secure them all.

The Serbian Church Council said the hopelessness of the position of the Serbs in Gnjilane, whose freedom of movement has been severely curtailed, restricting them to the part of town around the church, is best illustrated by the fact that Serb primary school children are escorted to school and back by strong KFor forces.

Original article