Skip to comments.17 Kosovo churches, monasteries and convents looted or set ablaze
Posted on 03/18/2004 2:55:28 PM PST by konijn
Serbs brace for more attacks Thu 18 March, 2004 21:22
By Fredrik Dahl
PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Albanians have set fire to Serb churches across Kosovo in a second day of attacks as NATO boosted its force by 1,000 and vowed to stamp out ethnic violence with "robust" action.
Serbia and Montenegro's Defence Minister Boris Tadic said he expected more violence in the majority Albanian province and appealed to NATO to do more to calm the "terrible situation".
"I am afraid there will be more attacks during the night. This is an emergency situation and we need the help of the international community," Tadic told a news conference on Thursday in Bratislava, where he was attending a European forum.
The appeal came after the worst ethnic clashes in Kosovo since NATO and the United Nations took control of the province from Serbia in 1999.
At least 23 people -- Albanians and Serbs -- were killed, and 500 wounded, of whom 20 were in intensive care.
"The thousands of ethnic Albanians that attacked KFOR, the police, Serb enclaves and churches should be aware of robust reserve forces," KFOR mission commander General Holger Kammerhoff of Germany told reporters in the capital, Pristina.
Commanders of the multinational brigades were authorised to use "proportional force necessary to ensure safety of our soldiers, to protect the innocent people of Kosovo and reestablish freedom of movement of all of Kosovo", he said.
CHURCHES, MONASTERIES ABLAZE
A Serb official in Lipljan, central Kosovo, said about 300 Albanians were trying to enter a church protected by Finnish U.N. peacekeepers. Some threw hand grenades and Finnish troops fired back, municipal leader Borivoje Vignjevic told Reuters.
Serb Orthodox clergy in Kosovo said 17 churches, monasteries and convents had been looted or set ablaze.
Nuns from Devic Monastery near Srbica, south of Mitrovica, were flown out on KFOR helicopters -- after French troops sought church permission -- when at least 1,000 armed Albanians threatened the convent, the church said.
The Orthodox church in Pristina was also burning on Thursday evening and the priest was hiding in the cellar of his parish house next door, a spokesman at the Belgrade Patriarchy said.
NATO troops fired tear gas and plastic rounds to stop an Albanian march on Caglavica, a Serb village hit in the violence.
In the central town of Obilic, Serbs appealed to KFOR for weapons to defend themselves as Albanians, whose religion is Islam, set fire to their homes and drove them out.
"There are no more Serbs in Obilic," local Serb Mirce Jakoljevic told Belgrade's B92 radio. "I urge our state to exert the strongest possible pressure on KFOR to send us weapons."
FROM CLARK TO JONES
The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General James L. Jones -- whose predecessor but one General Wesley Clark bombed Serbia to force it out of Kosovo -- said extra troops were part of "a prudent reinforcement" of 18,500 already there.
"The reinforcements include a battalion sized, rapid response reserve force" to be deployed where needed, he said.
The violence began on Monday when a Serb teenager was wounded in a drive-by shooting. The following day three Albanian boys drowned in a river, reportedly after being chased by Serbs. On Wednesday, the province exploded.
Serbia's main representative on Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic told Serbs in Mitrovica the violence "has all been organised in advance and pre-planned by Albanians and their lobbyists".
"This might be the decisive battle for Kosovo and the survival of Serbs in Kosovo and we must win," he said.
In a session of the Kosovo parliament, representatives of three main Albanian parties said the only way to calm Kosovo was to declare it independent - a constant demand held at bay by the United Nations, which wants peace before any status decision.
U.S. soldiers blocked the Pristina-Mitrovica road and were checking all travellers as 150 more U.S. troops and 80 Italian carabinieri arrived and Britain readied 750 troops.
In Serbia, the Interior Ministry put paramilitary police on the boundary with Kosovo on the top level of combat readiness.
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica urged the U.N. Security Council to act to stop "ethnic cleansing" by Albanians.
"We are doing our utmost to find a political solution to stop this," he told Serbian state television.
Angry protesters in Serbia's three main cities stoned and burned mosques and other Islamic buildings on Wednesday night, furious at what they called NATO's failure to check Albanian "terrorism".
Where is Europe? Where is NATO? I hate to say this but the brutality and unfinished business of Muslim Turkish occupation of the region for over 5 hundred years and more will lead to yet another major war in Europe.
America is in this for the long haul.
Lets look at the slides. 1 of 11 A second day of clashes saw religious sites targeted - here in the flashpoint town of Mitrovica Albanian protesters managed to burn a Serb Orthodox church.
THEY ARE ALBANIAN PROTESTORS?? PROTESTING AGAINST WHAT?
THEY MANAGED to burn a church?
4 of 11 There was also the rare occasion of an Albanian putting out the fire at his Serb neighbour's house.
EVEN WHEN THE WORST OF ALBANIAN TERRORISM IS SHOWN BBC finds a nice Pro Albanian propaganda angle.
5 of 11 But the two sides remain poles apart - Kosovo Albanians protest to demand independence as a way of ending the long conflict.
I THOUGHT IT WAS a violence due to some boys drowning in the river BBC KNOWS IT IS PROTEST ABOUT INDEPENDENCE
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