- Title: YUGOSLAVIA: CRACKDOWN ON ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO
- Date: 8th March 1998
- Summary: NEAR PREKAZ, KOSOVO, YUGOSLAVIA (MARCH 8, 1998)(RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. TRACK CONVOY ALONG ROAD 0.31 2. SLV SERBIAN POLICE (3 SHOTS) 0.44 3. TRACK CONVOY CONTINUES 0.51 4. SV POLICE IN FOREST/ CONVOY STATIONARY (3 SHOTS) 1.05 5. TRACK CONVOY CONTINUES JOURNEY 1.14 6. SLV DAMAGED VILLAGES (6 SHOTS) 2.05 7. LV SERBIAN POLICE IN FIELDS 2.33 8. CU CHICKENS IN VILLAGES 2.36 9. SV MORE DAMAGED BUILDINGS/ POLICE (8 SHOTS) 3.55 10. LV POLICE ON HILLSIDE (2 SHOTS) 4.08 11. LV CATTLE 4.13 12. SV KOSOVO CHIEF OF SERB POLICE, VELJKO ODALOVIC, EXPLAINS THAT THE POLICE WERE FORCED TO INTERVENE WHEN THEY HEARD SHOTS COMING FROM THE HOUSE (SERBO-CROAT) 4.47 13. SV ARMED POLICE IN TREES (4 SHOTS) 5.16 14. SV VEHICLES ON HILLSIDE 5.27 15. TV VARIOUS OF VILLAGE (5 SHOTS) 5.58 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 23rd March 1998 12:00
- Location: NEAR PREKAZ, KOSOVO, YUGOSLAVIA
- Country: Yugoslavia
- Reuters ID: LVAZ6JXQCHZMTI2E68WWLOCGOUF
- Story Text: The major powers are set to send a stern warning to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic against pursuing a bloody crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Serbian authorities, however, have told foreign governments the current crackdown is almost over for now.
On Sunday (March 8) a group of diplomats from Belgrade visited the mountain village of Prekaz, outside Pristina, scene of some of the heaviest fighting last week as Serbain police cracked down on suspected ethnic Albanian rebels.
Officials of the Democratic League of Kosovo, the main ethnic Albanian party, said on Sunday the Prekaz area had been calmer overnight with only sporadic shooting.
Terrified people who fled Prekaz and other villages in the Drenica region where police launched their attacks on Thursday were hiding out in the hills and woods.
They said they had no food or water and feared for their lives.
A pro-government daily in Belgrade, the Serbian and Yugoslav capital, said "dozens" of Albanian guerrillas had been killed in the operation, which began last weekend.It had earlier put the death toll at 70.
Police said the dead included Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader Adem Jasari, who, they said, had been trained across the border in Albania, and his brother and another senior guerrilla.
The KLA has emerged as a military threat in the past two years in response to growing impatience with the lack of progress by political leaders demanding independence for Kosovo.
The province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs nine to one, had its autonomous status stripped in 1989 when then-Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was amassing power on a wave of Serb nationalism, and has since been ruled by Belgrade with an iron fist.
International pressure mounted at the weekend for Milosevic, now president of the Yugoslav federation, to open a dialogue with the Albanians, but he seemed determined to ignore appeals for restraint.
Western countries, fearing a new Balkan conflagration, have made clear they want a diplomatic solution to the conflict in which the Albanians would drop independence claims in exchange for a restoration of autonomy.
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