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Yugoslavia: Kosovo Refugees Describe Horrific Scene In Pristina

  • Kitty McKinsey



Skopje, 29 March 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Kosovar Albanian refugees who fled Pristina today report that there is "a total war" going on in the Kosovo capital.

Refugees who crossed into Macedonia yesterday at the General Jankovic border crossing 18 km north of the Macedonian capital Skopje, told our correspondent of marauding Serbian policemen and para-military forces attacking ethnic Albanians at random.

One 36 year-old businessman, who came across with his wife and two small children in a car, said most of the shops owned by ethnic Albanians have been destroyed by Serbian forces on a rampage since NATO began air strikes against Yugoslavia. He said Pristina today is "a city of fear".

Many of the refugees were too traumatized to speak, but those who did described the Serbian force as "wild". A 14-year-old girl described the Serbs as "animals" who are killing civilians indiscriminately. Others said Pristina has been overrun by Serb tanks, and some reported that there is no food left in the city.

None of these accounts could be independently verified, because there are no international observers or journalists left in Pristina.

An ethnic Albanian woman who had been an English-language interpreter for the OSCE, said that in her town of Urosevac (halfway between Pristina and Skopje) Serb forces on Sunday (March 28) rounded up and killed most of the ethnic Albanians who had worked for the OSCE or international humanitarian aid organizations.

The flow of refugees into Macedonia has slowed to a trickle, with most Kosovars who are fleeing reprisals apparently heading for Albania instead. Correspondents at the Jazince border crossing into Macedonia this morning reported no refugees there at all. At the General Jankovic crossing correspondents reported that in three hours only about 20 cars came across, each carrying four or five people. Most of the refugees appeared to be fairly well-to-do middle class people, and many of them spoke English.
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