ERP KIM Info Service has received from well informed international sources in Kosovo a timeline of the incidents and events in Kosovo Province in the period between 15-20 March. At the moment the Diocese is actively collecting all available information on these events in which more than 4.000 Serbs have been left homeless, at least 8 Serbs died and around 30 churches have been either completely destroyed or seriously damaged by Kosovo Albanian mob. All available information and our contacts with different intelligence sources prove that the operation (called by some as Operation Matchstick) was carefully planned beforehand and that behind it are some of the Kosovo Albanian leaders. The fact that some Kosovo Protection Corps officers and members as well as quite a number of Kosovo Police service officials participated in the riots, forcing Serbs out of their homes allegedly to save their lives but in reality to allow the coming crowd to burn their homes was a pattern which could be seen in many parts of Kosovo. According to still unconfirmed information in the clashes between KFOR, UNMIK police with armed Kosovo Albanian rioters and terrorists several internationals have been killed. However the international sources officially still refuse to confirm this information.
The Timeline of Kosovo Pogrom 15-19 March 2004
Monday 15 March 2004
1950 hrs: drive-by shooting in Caglavica (just south of Pristina). 19-year-old K-Serbian male hit by three bullets and seriously injured. Victim transported to Mitrovica (North) Hospital. His condition was reported to be life threatening
2100 hrs: in a protest against the incident, 150 K-Serbs from Caglavica block the main Pristina-Skopje road for 2 hours and stone passing vehicles. One K-Albanian vehicle set on fire.
2215 hrs: passing vehicles stoned in the K-Serb village of Gracanica (SE of Pristina). Two vehicles seriously damaged. One K-Albanian driver injured and hospitalised. The roads Pristina - Skopje (at Caglavica) and Pristina - Gnjilane (at Gracanica) remain closed.
Tuesday 16 March 2004
0700 hrs: UNMIK Police & KFOR respond to several road blockades conducted by K-Serbian demonstrators protesting against drive-by shooting in Caglavica on 15/03. Demonstrators block main road Pristina to Skopje and the road to Gracanica village (7 km SE of Pristina).
0930 hrs: 200 K-Serbian protestors from Laplje Selo (SSW of Pristina) march towards Caglavica to join blockade. 40 K-Albanians block the road in Kisnica village and issued threats towards minorities (8 km SE of Pristina).
1000 hrs: for 2 hours, 30 K-Serbian demonstrators block the road through the Suvi Do village (3 km NNW of Lipljan)
1100 hrs: K-Serb demonstrators assault UNMIK Police International officer and damage UNMIK Police vehicle. The officer is hospitalised & released.
1700 hrs: situation brought under control UNMIK & KFOR vehicles move freely roads still closed to all civilian traffic.
Podujevo, Obilic, Pristina, Stimlje
A total of about 2,600 persons peacefully demonstrate in support of recently arrested former KLA members.
Novo Brdo, Gnjilane, Vitina, Urosevac, Kacanik
About 8,000 persons peacefully demonstrate in support of recently arrested former KLA members.
Malisevo, Orahovac, Suva Reka, Prizren, Dragas
About 1,900 persons demonstrate in support of recently arrested former KLA members. The demonstrations are peaceful except in Prizren town, where a group of demonstrators stones UNMIK HQ facilities. UNMIK Police International officer slightly injured & UNMIK Police vehicle sustains minor damage.
Istok, Pec, Klina, Decani, Djakovica
A total of about 4,000 persons peacefully demonstrate in support of recently arrested former KLA members.
Mitrovica Region (6 km ESE of Zubin Potok)
1745 hrs: 4 K-Albanian children reported missing having gone to the riverside. During the rescue operation, one child is retrieved from the river and hospitalised. Three others could not be found (all were later discovered to have drowned). K-Albanian media instantly blames K-Serbs. Allegation that children were chased by K-Serbs found to be false.
Wednesday 17 March 2004
- K-Albanian demonstrators attempt roadblock southern edge of city & turn violent
- UNMIK police & KPS patrols assaulted & stoned
- 3 UNMIK vehicles set on fire
- 1,500 K-Albanians protest in front of UNMIK HQ.
22.00 hrs +:
- Protestors stone UNMIK HQ (non-essential personnel already evacuated)
- 3 UNMIK Police vehicles set on fire near Grand Hotel
- K-Serb apartment block attacked with stones, firearms, petrol bombs 4 K-Serbs killed
- KFOR & SPU intervene apartment block evacuated apartments set on fire
- Police vehicle & a number of other vehicles set on fire
- UNMIK police officer shot and injured
- Numerous shots and blasts around Pristina centre.
- 1,000 K-Serbs block road in protest against shooting incident 15/03
- K-Albanian protestors proceed towards Caglavica from Pristina to confront K-Serbs
- KFOR/SPU attempt to keep crowd separated K-Albanians outflank & penetrate
- Police Officer opens fire into crowd (casualty numbers not known)
- Vehicle drives into KFOR checkpoint 3 soldiers injured KFOR soldier opens fire killing K-Albanian motorist
- K-Albanian mob attack and burn K-Serb houses (11 houses burned)
- Approx 100 civilian casualties
- UNMIK & civilian vehicles & KFOR APC set on fire.
- K-Albanian crowd attacks K-Serb houses several set on fire
- K-Serb hospital, school and post office set on fire
- UNMIK cars and ambulance damaged and burned
- Orthodox Church attacked but effectively defended by K-Serbs
- K-Serb male beaten to death & several others injured during rioting
- UNMIK international police officer injured
- 130 K-Serbs shelter in police station.
- Crowd of 2,000 protestors gather
- Rocks thrown at police station cars damaged Police Officers threatened.
- K-Albanian crowd effectively contained by police KPS Officer shot by protestor
- Several K-Serb houses set on fire protestor stone police & K-Serbs
- K-Albanian male shot and injured by K-Albanian KPS Officer who is surrounded by crowd
- Dead body found in yard of burning house.
- K-Albanian crowd stones Police and KFOR
- K-Albanian KPS officer shot and seriously injured
- House set on fire.
- K-Albanians protestors attack K-Serbian locations with stones
- Municipal Building attacked
- UNMIK vehicle set on fire & 6 others damaged two K-Serbian cars destroyed
- UNMIK International Police officer; 3 K-Albanian KPS officers & K-Serb male injured.
- 2,500 K-Albanians stone UNMIK Regional HQ breaking several windows
- KFOR and Police secure the location
- 4 vehicles set on fire, including one KFOR vehicle
- KFOR soldiers attacked with rocks
- UNMIK Police vehicle overturned and others set on fire at Regional Police HQ
- Two K-Serbian houses set on fire
- 300 persons stone & attempt to break into the UNMIK Logistical Base
- UNMIK vehicle damaged entering town, then set on fire near UN Logistics Base
- One UNMIK International Police Officer injured during day
- K-Serbian male killed 30 local civilians injured
- 8 houses set on fire 3 UNMIK vehicles totally destroyed, several others damaged.
- K-Albanian crowd rampage
- UNMIK vehicle & 4 K-Serbian cars damaged
- 4 K-Serbian houses set on fire & Orthodox Church badly damaged
- One person injured
- Police evacuated several K-Serbian families to safer locations.
- 2,000-3,000 K-Albanians riot in town, throwing rocks & burning vehicles
- 3 hand grenades thrown at Serbian Orthodox church church set on fire
- Several explosions & automatic gunfire
- 12 KPS officers were injured - 1 civilian killed
- Greek KFOR attacked assisted by US KFOR
- 1 Greek KFOR vehicle burned.
- 500 K-Albanians block main road & stone KFOR
- One Polish KFOR soldier injured
- KFOR fire warning shots to disperse the crowd
- Automatic gunfire & hand grenade explosion heard
- UNMIK vehicle overturned during riot
- House looted and set on fire several other houses damaged
- One person injured.
- 500 K-Albanians chanting UNMIK out remove UN flag from Municipal Building
- Police intercept them & flag is retrieved.
- 2,000 K-Albanians stage violent protest outside UNMIK Regional HQ
- 3-4 houses close to UNMIK Regional HQ burned
- Orthodox Seminary in town centre & 3 Orthodox churches set on fire
- Five UNMIK vehicles damaged.
- Crowd block roads inside town with garbage bins, large vehicles & wooden electric poles
- One UNMIK vehicle burned & another damaged.
- 500 K-Albanians gather in town centre next to UNMIK Regional HQ
- UNMIK personnel evacuate to UNMIK Log base
- One UN vehicle set on fire, 2 others damaged
- Regional HQ building damaged.
Belo Polje (2 km S of Pec)
- K-Albanian protestors attack K-Serbian returnee site in village of Belo Polje
- KFOR assist in the evacuation of approx 200 K-Serbs
- Twelve K-Serbs injured during evacuation
- UNMIK car damaged
- 15 K-Serbian houses looted & set on fire
- K-Albanian male shot & killed by female UNMIK International Police Officer following a direct attack against her.
- K-Albanians attempt to attack Orthodox Monastery in order to set it on fire
- Nine K-Albanians shot & injured
- Two UNMIK vehicles damaged, one set on fire.
- Police & KFOR evacuate group of people gathered inside Orthodox Church
- Rioters burn the Church afterwards
- 3 UNMIK vehicles set on fire, another damaged
- UNMIK International Police officer assaulted, seriously injured & his service pistol taken.
- 5,000 K-Albanians peacefully demonstrate re missing K-Albanian children in Zubin Potok area (during night 17-18/03, 2 children bodies recovered third child remained missing)
- 800 K-Albanians forcibly enter Main Bridge, throwing stones & breaking barricades
- UNMIK Police reinforced by SPU tear gas used to disperse crowd
- Crowd become violent several UNMIK vehicles damaged UNMIK bus set on fire
- Shooting & explosions heard on both sides (automatic weapons & hand grenades used)
- Police reinforced by KFOR & situation brought under control
4 K-Serbs killed & about 50 injured
- 4 K-Albanians killed & about 160 injured
- 4 UNMIK International Police officers, 8 SPU officers, 12 KPS officers and 13 KFOR personnel injured
- Eleven UNMIK vehicles damaged & 2 set on fire.
- Six K-Serbian houses set on fire in villages of Banjska & Slatina
- Two victims injured
- UNMIK car and KFOR vehicle damaged.
Thursday 18 March
- More attacks against evacuated K-Serb apartment building SPU keeps rioters back
- 1,000 K-Albanians hold peaceful protest outside Assembly Building
- KPS officer killed 8 km west of Pristina
- Hand grenade thrown into French Liaison Office compound grenade fails to explode
- KFOR prevent attempt to break through to Caglavica 4 K-Alb injured by warning shots
- Person threatens bomb within Pristina if Pristina-Skopje highway not opened hoax call
- UNMIK vehicle set on fire in front of the Police Main HQ
- Rioters attack Old Orthodox Church in Taslixhe automatic gunfire in area
- Orthodox priest & 5 K-Serbian families evacuated by KFOR from Old Orthodox Church
- SPU officer shot & injured during attempt to secure Old Orthodox Church
- Police use tear gas to disperse rioters (area of EAR office building)
- Orthodox Church, UN Habitat office & 3 UNMIK Police vehicles set on fire
- Armed & masked persons rob 2 residences of UNMIK international staff members.
- K-Albanians resume riot by blocking the Pristina-Skopje highway
- Reach strength of about 1,500 persons throughout the day
- UNMIK Police, SPU and KFOR defend approaches to Caglavica village
- Tear gas used occasionally highway closed all day.
- Hand grenade explodes close to Police Station
- K-Serbian house set on fire
- Second hand grenade explosion reported
- House rented by UNMIK International Police officer set on fire & destroyed.
- Orthodox Church, numerous K-Serbian houses and apartment blocks set on fire
- 200 K-Albanians repeatedly attack Police Station firearms used KPS officer wounded
- 47 K-Serbs, who found refuge at Police Station, evacuated to safe location
- KFOR escort attacked and fired upon during the rescue operation
- Numerous K-Albanians besiege minority village of Plementina (6 km NE of Obilic)
- K-Serbian population evacuates to UNMIK TSS compound
- Crowd attempts to set local Police station on fire.
- 0805 hrs: closed to all incoming civilian flights
Gate 3 boundary crossing (Merdere)
- 300 Serbs attempt to enter Kosovo from Serbia proper initially prevented
- Crowd of K-Albanians move towards on Gate from Podujevo
- Border/Boundary Police personnel forced to temporarily evacuate.
- Orthodox Church set on fire
- International Police evacuate Police Station, under threat of direct attack.
- 800 K-Albanians demonstrate, block road & damage UNMIK vehicle
- 1,000 K-Albanians besiege Police Station (1600 hrs)
- Device explodes behind Police Station
- K-Albanian male, injured during protest 17/03, dies in hospital
- Rioters destroy Monument
- K-Serb male, whose house is on fire, shoots and injures K-Albanian female
- Up to 15 explosions reported in the area
- Two K-Albanian males and one K-Serbian male found dead
- Eight K-Serbs houses set on fire
- KPS officer shot & seriously injured 2 UNMIK International Police Officers injured
- 2 UNMIK vehicles damaged.
- K-Albanian population of Rabovce village (ethnically mixed) leave village in anticipation of attacks against K-Serbs
- Sporadic shootings reported in Stari Gracko village & in the area until midnight
- K-Serb community refuse KFOR evacuation request KFOR control access to village.
- K-Serbian house & Orthodox Church set on fire
- Additional 4 K-Serbian houses looted & set on fire.
Novo Brdo area
During the night:
- Hand grenade thrown into house of local Municipal President (K-Serbian male)
- KPS patrol attacked with hand grenade & automatic weapons no injuries reported
- Attempt to set Municipal Building on fire local security guards extinguish fire.
- KFOR use tear gas to disperse 200 K-Albanians gathering at edge of K-Serb area.
- Crowds build up inside & around the town (1200 hrs)
- 3,000 K-Albanians engage KFOR & Police in town
- Ground & air KFOR units use tear gas to keep the situation under control
- 5 unexploded Molotov cocktails found in UNMIK Regional HQ building
- Police Station stoned
- Hand grenade explosion injures 2 males in Cernica village
- K-Serbian cemetery vandalised several K-Serb houses set on fire 3 persons injured
- Hand grenade explosion injures 4 K-Serbs
- Throughout day, 50 K-Albanians arrested for looting & burning houses.
- 300 K-Albanians set 7 K-Serbian houses on fire about 25 K-Serbs evacuated
- K-Albanian male assaults German female national
- 1,500 K-Albanians rampage burn Orthodox Church & up to 5 K-Serb houses in town
- K-Albanian crowd attempts to set Orthodox Church on fire in K-Serb village of Talinovce
- Tear gas used to disperse crowd
- Church was set to fire (1749 hrs) 5 K-Albanian males arrested.
- 400 K-Albanians participate in peaceful demonstration in town
- Orthodox Church set on fire & destroyed in Brnjaca village.
- 6 buses of K-Albanian males stopped while attempting to join demonstration in Pristina
- 2,000 K-Albanians take part in wreath-laying ceremony at KLA monument
- Participants then attack UNMIK Police Regional HQ with stones
- 10 UNMIK cars & 3 KPS vehicles damaged
- Police Station attacked KPS & SPU respond 3 SPU officers injured in clashes
- 600 protesters continue to stone UNMIK Police Regional HQ
- Archbishop seat, Archangel Monastery, an Orthodox Church and Orthodox Seminary set on fire & destroyed
- Eleven K-Serbs evacuated from town to KFOR compound.
- Explosion at Police station car park two vehicles destroyed
- Explosion in Orthodox Church, Baja village
- Riot in Dubrava Prison 2 prisoners injured
- 500 K-Albanians demonstrate in Istok town no significant incidents
- 1,500 K-Albanians block town centre & UNMIK HQ, chanting anti-UNMIK slogans
- Juveniles stone UNMIK HQ building & break several windows
- 2 houses set on fire in the area 2 KPS cars looted & damaged.
- Looting & arson continues in K-Serb village of Belo Polje
- Sporadic shooting heard in K-Serb village of Gorazdevac.
- 500 K-Albanians attempt to march into K-Serb villages of Bica & Grabac villages
- Prevented by KFOR &UNMIK Police
- KFOR evacuate 35 K-Serbs by helicopter from the villages
- 4 K-Serbian houses set on fire in Bica village sporadic shooting in several villages.
- 1,400 K-Albanians protest in town centre several UNMIK cars set on fire
- 2 KFOR platoons take position in Orthodox Monastery shooting heard.
- 100 protestors start to march towards Monastery
- March stops after intervention of Municipal authorities & UNMIK Police.
- Rioters remove debris of destroyed Orthodox Church with trucks & trailers
- Houses set on fire
- Approx 5,000 K-Albanians participate.
- Crowds form on southern side of Main Bridge (1000 hrs)
- Water level raised artificially in Ibar River to create additional barrier
- K-Albanians threaten to arrange additional protests
- Molotov cocktails thrown into perimeter of KFOR-guarded Orthodox Church in South
- Church & several neighboring houses set on fire
- Local Fire Brigade fight house fires but not Church, which is severely damaged
- Crowd stones OSCE Field Office & car park windows broken & cars damaged
- K-Albanians attack UNMIK HPD office & assault personnel KFOR intervene
- 2 K-Serbian male dead bodies found in village of Svinjare
- 3 grenades thrown at KFOR troops in 3 Towers area (North) no injuries reported
- Sporadic shooting in same area KFOR ordered to return fire in case of direct attacks
- About 300 K-Serbs sheltered in KFOR compounds
- KFOR soldiers engage & kill sniper in 3 Towers area.
- Body of K-Albanian male found in river 5 km SW of Vucitrn
- K-Serbian male inhabitants of Gojbulja village refuse evacuation, display weapons & declare that they will defend their village women & children evacuated
- Orthodox Church set on fire in Vucitrn town several K-Roma houses damaged.
- 100 K-Serbs take refuge in local Police Station.
- 2,000 protestors gather and move towards Devic Monastery
- Five K-Serbian nuns evacuated from area
- Violent protestors set Monastery on fire.
Friday 19 March 2004
- UNMIK car & UNMIK Police vehicle found vandalised and burned
- UNMIK traffic halted following 2 shooting incidents against UNMIK Police patrol
- KPS prevent looting of abandoned K-Serb apartments by K-Albanian youths.
- Prime Minister calls for citizens of Kosovo to contribute to normalisation of situation
- No significant incidents.
- Substantial KFOR presence throughout the day.
- One abandoned K-Serbian property set on fire
- MSU deployed to the area.
- Several recently abandoned K-Serbian houses set on fire
- 13 K-Romas evacuated from local school
- 2 grenade explosions heard in Crkvena Vodica village.
- 0805 hrs: Normal civilian air traffic resumed.
Gate 3 Boundary crossing (Merdere)
- UNMIK Border/Boundary Police personnel return & resume duties (1830 hrs, 18/03).
- Several buses with Serbian males from Serbia proper attempt to enter Kosovo prevented by Border & Boundary Police with KFOR assistance.
18 km SE of Podujevo
- Group of K-Serbs attack K-Albanian houses in boundary area & set them on fire.
20 km SE of Podujevo
- Abandoned K-Serbian house set on fire.
- Several house fires reported
- 300 K-Serbs return to Robovce village.
- All K-Serbian families evacuated from the town
- 3 K-Serbian houses & one K-Serbian-owned barn set on fire
- KFOR prevent Orthodox Church being set on fire 21 gas bottles removed from Church.
- 100 K-Albanians gather in the town & set K-Serb house on fire
- KFOR detain approx 50 K-Albanian males preparing to stage rally
- Bus with incoming protestors intercepted while approaching the town
- UNMIK evacuate international staff from Regional HQ building to Logistic Base
- KPS patrol attacked with hand grenade & automatic weapons police return fire no injuries
- 2 abandoned K-Serbian houses set on fire.
- Abandoned Orthodox Church set on fire (2230, 18/03) local Fire Brigade extinguish fire.
- 400 protesters with anti-UNMIK slogans approach UNMIK Regional HQ
- KFOR deploy international personnel relocate to UNMIK Logistical Base
- Body discovered in burned ruins of Orthodox Seminary
- 2 K-Albanian males arrested after setting fire to K-Serb house & robbing/injuring (with knife) K-Serb female owner
- 2 K-Albanian males arrested for rioting, instigating stoning of UNMIK Regional HQ & inflicting injury to Police officers