emg home
Bulgaria and Qatar signed 8 bilateral documents Two candidates-two futures for Serbia Zastava and Italian cluster sign letter of intent Serbia, Azerbaijan to enhance economic cooperation Dinar slides sharply against euro SPC condemns verdict against Archbishop Jovan Dacic: Operation Zeppelin ends in five arrests Brammertz in Belgrade next week Kosovo Serb imposed custody Dobrosin probably attacked by three persons ICJ: Opening argument done, evidence presentation postponed

Low Intensity Conflict

10 out of 100 UCK "Gnjilane Group" members arrested in Serbia, threats from NLA group member in FYROM

27. December 2008. | 09:28 18:42

Source: EMportal

City: Preševo, Skopje

Author: Nikos Arvanites

Photo: Agencies, Nikos Arvanites

The Gnjilane Group had some 100 members from southern areas of central Serbia, and from FYRMacedonia.
Members of the so-called Gnjilane Group of the Kosovo Liberation Army suspected of kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 between June-October 1999. Former NLA commader Xhesair Shaqiri,told  Alsat M TV on Tuesday that the former NLA could be reestablished in FYR Macedonia.

The Serbian police have searched 17 facilities yesterday morning in the area of the Presevo municipality in southern Serbia, and they have arrested 10 members of hte former self-proclaimed KLA, who are suspected of committing a war crime in the region of Gnjilane in 1999, i.e. kidnapping and murdering more than 50 Serb civilians and other non-Albanians.

Serbian Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic has told the press conference that the leaders of the so-called “Gnjilane group” Fazli Haidari, Rexhep Ajiri and Shaip Shaqiri have escaped the arrest because they live in Gnjilan, in Kosmet.

They will not have an international warrant issued after them, as they do not live in another state, but we will require help from UNMIK, explained Dacic. He added that the War Crimes Prosecution has other information as well, so the process will be wider in scope.

The Minister has stated that weapons and other evidence have been found in the possession of the arrested persons, indicating the war crimes against civilians.

The kidnapped and murdered Serbs were previously kept and tortured in three locations in Gnjilane, and all previously found bodies are showing the evidence of dying from torture, Dacic underlined.

"On the basis of a criminal complaint and on a warrant issued by  War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, MUP members have arrested a number of people, members of the so-called KLA Gniljan Group on suspicion of perpetrating crimes against the civilian population, Serbs and non-Albanians, in Gniljane in 1999," said the minister.

Those arrested include Nazif Hasani, Ahmet Hasani, Faton Hajdari, Samet Hajdari, Ferat Hajdari, Kamber Sahiti, Agush Memishi, Burim Gazliju and Selimon Sadiki.

"Ten people have been taken into custody. I should point out that the leaders of the group are Fazlia Aydari, Rexhep Aliji and Shaqip Shaqiri, who are currently outside this region. They are currently out of the reach of our authorities and live in Gniljane," added Dacic.

"We're looking here at the arrest of a significant number of individuals, members of the so-called Gnjilane Group of the Kosovo Liberation Army suspected of kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 between June-October 1999. What stands out in these cases is that these crimes were perpetrated in a particularly cruel manner, in three locations in Gniljane," he said.

The crime in Gnjilane against local Serbs and other non-Albanians took place after NATO troops, KFOR, arrived in Kosovo in the wake of the 1999 war.

The suspects arrested today were members of the so-called Gnjilane Group, tasked with cleansing the remaining Serbs from that area of the province.

Many of the victims were killed in a boarding school in the town. They were first taken there, stripped naked, tied up, severely beaten and stabbed with knives. Parts of their bodies were cut off before they were viciously murdered.

Several of the victims died after their killers checked "how many bodies a single bullet can go through". The victims' bodies were then dismembered and taken to different locations in order to hide the crime.

The Gnjilane Group had some 100 members from southern areas of central Serbia, and from FYRMacedonia.

The group operated as part of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA – an armed group of ethnic Albanians set up in the mid 1990s which Serbia designated a terrorist organization.

The arrest of 10 former members of the KLA suspected of war crimes against civilians in Kosmet in 1999 will will contribute to stability in the south of Serbia, the Coordination Body of the Serbian Government for Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja Municipalities announced.

It is pointed out in the announcement that bringing the suspects to justice represents a permanent goal of the Serbian state and a debt to war crime victims and their families, regardless of their nationality or religion.

The Coordination Body emphasizes that the action of the arrest was carried out in line with the law and represents a significant step aimed at removing potential threats to security in the region of southern Serbian municipalities.

It is also emphasized that the Serbian authorities fully respect all the agreements on the appeasement of the criss in the region of the three municipalities in southern Serbia and especially the provisions of the document on the amnesty of former members of the so-called Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja of May 2001.

Serbs in eastern Kosmet have greeted the arrest of members of the former KLA suspected of crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanians.

More than 100 Serb and other non-Albanian civilians have been kidnapped and killed in that region since 1999.

The head of the Serbian Ministry for Kosmet Office in Kosovsko Pomoravlje, Predrag Stojkovic, said that the victims included weak and old persons and that their families suffer immensely, particulary in the cases when the fate of the kidnapped is unknown.

According to the records of the Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovsko Pomoravlje, 114 persons have been kidnapped and killed in eastern Kosmet since 1999.

From the arrested, one suspect was held for questioning at the Vranje MUP HQ, it was announced on Friday.

The interrogations of the suspects are underway in Belgrade, with Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Mioljub Vitorović present.

The prosecution office is expected to ask the court to start an investigation on Sunday, when the group of those arrested on Friday will be brought before an investigative judge.

The situation in the town of Presevo was calm today.

A key figure of the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency against Macedonian forces said the disbanded rebel group National Liberation Army could be revived to protect local Albanians from harrassment by the police.

Fomer NLA commader Xhesair Shaqiri, who is wanted by Macedonian police on racketeering charges, told  Alsat M TV on Tuesday that police raids and arrests over the murder of a former NLA member in late November were deliberately targeted against former fighters.

"We have our methods of defence, and I can say without a doubt that we possess enough capacity to re-establish the former NLA", said Shaqiri, who goes by the nom de guerre 'Commander Hoxha'.

The police raids were sparked by the murder of a 39-year old ethnic Albanian ex-NLA fighter who had joined the special anti-crime Alfa police unit after the rebels disbanded. He was killed in Skopje by unknown gunmen, who also injured two other policemen..

The local television station that secured the interview said that Shaqiri is hiding in the village of Tanusevsi by the border with Kosovo, where smugglers and criminals have carved out a police no-go area. Shaqiri denies any connection with criminal groups.

NATO and the European Union intervened heavily to end the six-month NLA insurgency, brokering the Ohrid peace deal guaranteeing greater cultural and political rights to Macedonia's 25-percent ethnic Albanian minority.

Dacic: Fight against crime, war crimes knows no national differences

 First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic today stated that the arrest of former OVK members in Presevo was not directed against Albanian population, adding that the fight against organised crime and war crimes does not care about nationalities.

At the base of the Antiterrorist Unit in Barajevo Dacic told the press that the arrest operation was one of the best performed actions of that type.

He also warned that the arrest may lead to certain security risks, particularly by those who are involved in war crimes against Serbs.

He noted that aggravating the situation in the south does not help the Albanians’ need to be an integral part of the society, adding that the operation is of huge importance to the state.

Dacic also said that the police did not use force in yesterday’s operation, noting that the state guarantees safety to all, regardless of their nationality.

Serbia is investigating war crimes committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia, but we think that the whole world should know about the crimes against Serbs, particularly in Kosovo-Metohija, stressed the Deputy Prime Minister.

He said that the operation was carried out at the request from the War Crimes Prosecution, recalling that several Serb nationals have also been taken in recently as part of the investigation.

According to him, ten persons were arrested and 17 facilities searched with the minimum use of force.

Dacic pointed to the importance of the local multiethnic police project, which is currently being implemented in Southern Serbia, Vojvodina and Sandzak with the help of the OSCE mission and the Norwegian government.

He explained that the project implies the inclusion of national minorities in the police, which shows that Serbia is advocating the integration of the minorities in all spheres of the society.

Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Konuzin delivered a donation of 30 tonnes of oil to the Antiterrorist Unit, as well as five pay cards with RSD 10,000 each for the five best unit members.

The donation was provided by Lukoil company and Deputy Prime Minister Dacic received it on behalf of the unit.


My Web

Enter text:


14. May - 20. May 2012.