Mitrovica: The Serbian Side of the Story

(2-22-00) [emperors-clothes]

The Western Press focused yesterday on images of Serbian residents of northern Mitrovica (in Kosovo) pelting American soldiers with rocks and snowballs. Nowhere did the 'free world' media present the Serbian side of the story. Here are three compelling reports from Tanjug, the Yugoslav press agency. Thanks to Nebojsa Malic for the translation.

One thing to keep in mind here: you will notice that the Tanjug reports below are not ethnically negative. That is, they are not directed against "Albanians" but rather against anti-Serbian racism and also against the KFOR policy of conquest and explusion of Serbs. Meanwhile, the thousands of Albanians (most of them apparently from outside Metrovica and even outside Kosovo) who demonstrated on Feb. 21 want the Serbian people and other ethnic groups driven out. The Serbs perceive KFOR, particularly the US and Britain, as supporting this goal. Are they wrong? I think not. -- JI, [emperors-clothes]

Kosovska Mitrovica (TANJUG) - Early this morning, KFOR soldiers from the ranks of American and German units barged into the Tech College and the Technical High School in the downtown of northern Mitrovica, in the most arrogant and savage manner. Literally demolishing the school premises, "peacekeepers" then begin the search of the surrounding buildings and apartments.

American KFOR troops took over that section of the city, boxed it in with armored vehicles, strong barbed wire around the perimeter and started searching all apartments and brutally detaining residents. Around six in the morning, Americans had blocked the area around the Tech College, Tech High and the student campus, searching them and the apartments in the Kneza Milosa and John Kennedy Streets.

Americans broke into apartments if there was no one to open the door, or the residents had not jumped out of their beds to open them. Smashing the doors, they entered the apartments with rifles at ready and searched for allegedly hidden weapons and ammunition. In the streets, they searched the bags of citizens who went to purchase their daily food staples - milk, bread and so forth. American KFOR troops, who had snuck into the northern part of the city in the night, have been turning over the heart of the city, causing a revolt among the Serb population.

One Serb family testified to reporters that among the so-called Americans they recognized their former Albanian neighbors, who took DM 450 away from them during the "search."

When American KFOR troops entered the student campus and started their brutal search, the students showered them with snowballs and rocks. Another "visit" was paid to the Tech College and Tech School, accompanied with widespread destruction. At the Tech High School they actually stormed the classrooms and smashed computers and other equipment. According to Prof. Dragan Radulovic of the Tech College, he was prevented from giving an exam, evicted along with his students, and then watched as the lab was trashed. "I was supposed to start the exam at nine, but they forced all of my students out and searched the Dean's office, looking at each and every document. They smashed all the closets and broke apart even the boiler at the heating room. We warned them that this is a place of higher education, that there is nothing here of value to them, and that they should not touch anything, but it was all in vain. They even forced us to open our [money deposit] safe and show them what was in there," says Radulovic.

Such behavior by American "peacekeepers" caused a demonstration by about 2000 angry citizens, who chased the intruders away around 10:30 with a shower of rocks and snowballs. The American savagery struck even the Children's Emergency Room, which they broke into and searched. According to information available so far, Stevan Zigic and Slobodan Mitrovic have been injured, hit in the face with rifle-butts, while Slavoljub Jovic and Drago Siljegovic were pepper-sprayed in the eyes.

Witnesses claim there are at least ten injured Serbs. Around 11:00, American position was taken over by the French and the Germans, who have been standing still and not taking any further measures. The city was also "seeded" by helicopter-dropped leaflets warning the populace to turn their weapons in "as requested by KFOR, while the soldiers will treat you with respect and dignity." The leaflet's text was being repeated from loudspeakers mounted on UN vehicles, cruising the city.


Andjelkovic: New Evidence of KFOR and UNMIK's complicity in ethnic cleansing
Belgrade (TANJUG) - Chairman of the Interim Governing Committee of Kosovo-Metohija Zoran Andjelkovic said this morning that the events in Mitrovica reaffirm that the international military presence cooperates with the Albanian terrorists in their ethnic cleansing of Kos-Met.

  • "Since neither the French nor the British complied with the KLA's demand to expel the Serbs from Mitrovica, the American and German troops staged a 'Kristallmorgen' [crystal morning] today by barging into the Technical College and the school, smashing the classrooms and equipment," Andjelkovic told Tanjug. According to him, KFOR reinforcements stormed Mitrovica this morning with dozens of armored cars and vehicles, putting psychological pressure on the Serbs "so they would leave northern Mitrovica of their own will, thus enabling the American soldiers to finish KLA's work and give them the right to take over the city."

Andjelkovic warns of this method of ethnic cleansing because the international troops seem to think that the problem disappears when the Serbs are expelled, since there are no KFOR or UNMIK reports on Pec, Istok, Klina, Djakovica, Decani and Prizren, for example, ethnically cleansed of Serbs, Turks, Muslims, Gorani... The problem exists only on the day of the actual expulsion, and then it disappears.

If things are seen in this light, there would be trouble only on the day when Serbs are forced out of Mitrovica.

"We think that this logic is prevalent in some centers of power in the world, the ones that ordered the bombing of our country," Andjelkovic said. "Ten days ago, Hashim Thaci, KLA boss and practically the man in charge of the 'protection corps' [Kosovo police corps, staffed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army] as well, tried to accuse Serbs for the assaults on Mitrovica. He said that the Serbs bombed their own cafe and injured 15 young people. This was an attempt to pressure KFOR to evict the Serbs from northern Mitrovica with KLA's help," he recalled.

According to Andjelkovic, the international community is no longer talking about a multiethnic Kos-Met. "They are saying this is difficult and impossible, showing that their earlier pronouncements were only a cover story and not their true interest and goal...The only remaining multi-ethnic part of KosMet is northern Mitrovica. That is why the KLA, KFOR and UNMIK are attacking it constantly - because it is an ugly reminder of the possiblity of multiethnic existence in Kosmet, and a thorn in the eye of those who want it destroyed," said Andjelkovic. For that purpose - destroying multi-ethnicity - he says, Americans and Germans stormed the center of northern Mitrovica this morning. That is why a large Albanian demonstration is in the works, and that is why so many attempts have been made to cross the Ibar bridge and do everything possible for that part of the city to stop representing a community of 2500 Albanians and 4500 Serbs.


Kosovska Mitrovica (TANJUG) - J. Jovanovic, member of the Government and Judiciary Subcommittee on the Yugoslav committee for cooperation with UNMIK told reporters that he was present during the attack on the Technical College in Mitrovica. He witnessed how doors on laboratories and other rooms were torn apart by axes. "The Tech College looks like it's just been sacked by a horde of barbarians," he said.

According to him, there is no door, closet or drawer still on its hinges.

The soldier who axed through the door of Professor Radulovic's office asked politely if he could light a cigarette. "The pinnacle of cynicism," Jovanovic said. Javonovic toured the Tech High School, also a target of KFOR's assault. The school and nearby buildings were surrounded by soldiers as if they were a fortified position, rather than an institution of higher education, Jovanovic testified. The school was demolished; everything that could be broken and smashed was, and all the books and notes were scattered on the floor. Jovanovic pointed out that floorboards were ripped up in some classrooms, and the soldiers even ripped out of the wall a coat rack.

"The official explanation was a tip that there is a large quantity of weapons and ammunition hidden in the Tech School," he said. He also said that the Americans and the French troops did indeed find some weapons, ammunition and non-explosive devices. But, it was a museum collection, placed in the former Civil Defense classroom. [All schools had dummy weapons for military training in the former Yugoslavia.]

"There were several landmines, both anti-personnel and anti-tank, in the collection, which were used as classroom props. They were specially marked to be distinguishable both visually and functionally from the real models," Jovanovic added. "Several hundred blanks - bullets, hand grenades, detonators - and air guns were found as well," he said, "but all of them were part of the museum exhibit of former educational props...These items were all impounded to serve as an excuse for the savagery of KFOR and to justify the announcement that the Tech School was a major depot of arms and ammunition for 'Serb terrorists' operating in northern Mitrovica," Jovanovic assessed.

He invited all who want to find out the truth to ask him for the complete documentation on the training arms and bullets found at the Tech School, so that "CNN would not miscount the bullets and grenades, which they are likely to do."

Jovanovic added that it is not a coincidence that today's barbaric action was undertaken by American and German troops. That this morning's events were planned in advance is proven by the strong presence of foreign reporters and TV crews in the area of KFOR's activity. They stood right in front of the institutions that were attacked and sent their reports from there. "It is obvious this was a grand farce aimed to intimidate the citizens of northern Mitrovica and expel the Serbs as soon as possible under the guise of restoring multiethnicity."


For a better understanding of the significance of the struggle in Mitrovica, see Why is the KLA Shooting at KFOR? at

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