Friday, July 08, 2005

U.N. moves quickly to calm Kosovo after drownings

By Branislav Krstic

MITROVICA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - The United Nations moved quickly to calm Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority on Friday after three children drowned in a village where a similar incident last March sparked deadly riots.

"This was an accidental drowning. There was no foul play," U.N. police spokesman Larry Miller said just an hour after the deaths of the Albanian children were reported.

He spoke to Kosovo's public radio and television, which also reported Monday's deaths as an accident. The U.N. mission later issued a statement stressing no foul play was suspected.

All three children were under the age of five. They were playing unattended in a water-filled pit behind their home in the northern village of Cabra, near Mitrovica, Miller said.

In March 2004, the drowning of three children from the same village in the nearby Ibar River lit the fuse for two days of devastating riots triggered by reports that Serbs with a dog had chased the children into the river.

U.N. police said there was no evidence to substantiate the charge, but their assurances came too late and 19 people died as Albanian mobs overran Serb enclaves in an orgy of looting and arson -- the worst violence since the 1998-99 war.

A report later strongly criticized the U.N. and NATO peacekeepers for failing to realize how explosive the incident was and take action to head off rumors that triggered the wave of anger.

The United Nations is on the alert for any unrest in Kosovo as it reviews whether enough progress has been made on security and minority rights for negotiations to begin on its "final status" -- independence, as Albanians want, or some high degree of autonomy acceptable to Serbia.

The province of two million people became a de facto U.N. protectorate in 1999 after 11 weeks of NATO bombing drove out Serb forces accused of atrocities against ethnic Albanian civilians as they battled to crush a separatist insurgency. (Additional reporting by Matthew Robinson)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is sad how biased reporters get hired by news agencies such as Reuters. The previous unrest in Kosova was not triggered by rumors. The kid that survived told the story. And for some reason everyone who talks about Kosova riots leaves out the fact that there were more Kosovar Albanians killed than Serbs.

Chris Blaku said...

That's because news organizations are blatantly biased. The tide has turned in the side of neoconservative media, lead by Rupert Murdoch, a staunch opponent of the war in Kosova, and Kosovar interests in general.

Whatever the case may be, reporters are also keen to avoid doing any real research and just relying on previous news feeds and current statistics, which in Kosova's case, generally tend to be false. 11 Albanians died, along with 8 Serbs. Hardly ever mentioned by the "unbiased" media.

Anonymous said...

All the former balkan republics, provinces, and neighboring countries in Balkan (such as Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosova, and Vojvodina), should unite and fuck the Serb up, just wipe them from the face of the earth. Show them what Srebrenica and Racak is like and impregnate their women!

Anonymous said...

yeah, that'll really solve the problem

Chris Blaku said...

Most of those former republics did join up, except it was for overpowering and annexing Albanian land, not what you proposed.

Anonymous said...

This I must comment.

"The previous unrest in Kosova was not triggered by rumors".
My God. You never stop to amaze me. Do you still think today that the kids were killed by Serbians?!
The Kosovo media, which triggered this tragic event, apologized later to have "drawn to early conclusions".

"11 Albanians died, along with 8 Serbs".
This is 100% true. However, if you want to know who killed who, I will get you the facts. Dont write that this is wrong, because it is the truth. Check for yourself.
9 Albanians were killed by Kfor, 1 Albanian was killed by Unmik police and 1 Albanian killed by Albanians. 7 Serbians were killed by Albanians and for 1 Serb, its not known yet how he died.

".....should unite and fuck the Serb up, just wipe them from the face of the earth".

This statement is exactly what Eide, US, EU and UN wants to hear. Maybe it is statements like this, which will destroy the chance for Kosovo to be independent. I heard yesterday that the Nato high Command, has rejected this idea.

Anonymous said...

Dude, why don't you include this comment as well "Show them what Srebrenica and Racak is like" in your quotation.
If Sebrs don't know what it feels like they will do the same thing in the future.

Anonymous said...

Today the found a new mass grave in Bosnia. 30 of the thousands of the Srebrenica massacre are burried there.

Anonymous said...

The problem with journalistic lameness like "19 killed when Albanians went on a killing spree" is that it wasn't a killing spree nor anything coordinated like some UN wossies like to portray it to save face. March 19 was a genuine eruption of people fed up with being kept hostages four years after the war by the UN, which had lost its way, and by the economic blockade that Belgrade was doing to Kosova.

In the end, Kosova benefited from the unrest as it finally got itself out of the economic and political quagmire. Bush administration woke up and so did some European govts. The unofortunate lesson out of all this, which will follow us in the years to come, is that guns get your issues on the West's agenda. We see this happenning over and over again, first the Kosova War in 1999, then the right of education of Albanian in Macedonia, self-governance in the Presheva Valley, and finally the March rioting.

The thing is that Albanians in Illyria have been seeking the same basic rights that average Europeans enjoy. But Europe won't move a finger for those rights until hell breaks loose. And when it does so, the signal it is sending is very dangerous.

P.S. I don't think NATO would aprove of non-Serbs uniting to fuk-up Serbia. Previous poster is right.

Anonymous said...

"This is 100% true. However, if you want to know who killed who, I will get you the facts. Dont write that this is wrong, because it is the truth. Check for yourself.
9 Albanians were killed by Kfor, 1 Albanian was killed by Unmik police and 1 Albanian killed by Albanians. 7 Serbians were killed by Albanians and for 1 Serb, its not known yet how he died."

In fact I have tried to check exactly this from UNMIK websites, but have been unable to fund any details. Could you kindly provide us a source

Anonymous said...

Chris Blaku said...
"The tide has turned in the side of neoconservative media, lead by Rupert Murdoch, a staunch opponent of the war in Kosova, and Kosovar interests in general."
Now, I have always supported the Kosova cause and I have always despised Murdoch. But I seem to remember the Murdoch press in 1999 was just as gung-ho "patriotic" and supporting the war and hence in theory "the Kosova cause" as most of the mass media, for its own reasons. If Murdoch really is anti-Kosovar, that would further lower my already opinion of Murdoch, but what is the evidence Chris? Is wekly Standard campaigning against Kosova independence?

fellow peacekeeper said...

I cannot believe some posts here. Do the Kosovo Albanians really believe they were the VICTIMS of the last March riots and not the perpetrators????

Quite right - AFAIK the majority of the Albanians killed in the riots last year were young men killed by RETURN fire from KFOR peacekeepers. Certainly true in Mitro for those two idiots with AKs at the footbridge, and the losers in Roma Mahalla playing sniper, firing across Ibar at KFOR on the north bank.

If the march flareup was based on a undercurrent of frustration, the incident with the drowned boys was the spark. Or, more correctly, the hysterical, incendiary and completely inaccurate Kosovo Albanian media coverage was the spark.... and some of you are offended that the UN gets the truth out quickly this time?

Anonymous said...

Albanians didn't clash with KFOR but with UNMIK police. There is a difference there, peacekeeper. KFOR was hiding in barracks as all the foreign investigators have shown us.
With KFOR not willing to stand its ground, and UNMIK the usual wossies, the mostly underage mob went on rampage.

March riots ultimately benefited the Albanians because they got the Independence process going. What some of the comments here are saying is that most of the dead were actually Albanians, which is true. One Serb here says that they were killed by KFOR, but we haven't seen any proof yet. Also, damaged property is being reparied by Kosova government money. An unheard of before in these kinds of events in the Balkans.

There should not be a legitimate reason for rioting at all. As a form of violence, it is a desperate measure by desperate people with no political means to expres their anger. In that sense, no matter what the cause was for the drowings, it should not have been used as justifaction for the rampage. Nevertheless, we both know (if you really are a peacekeeper) what the situation was in Kosova before March. KFOR's military intelligence knew what was coming well in advance; one had to be dumb not to notice.

Also, there was never a proper investigation as the UN dude "caught" the survitor lying the minute he saw him. Did he ever have his day in court? Never. Are Mitrovica Serbs capable of such deeds? I've seen some of it myself.

There is no free media in Kosova. Whoever goes astray from UNMIK policy is charged with ridiculous amounts of money. Especially RTK has been pro-UNMIK because in seeking to stay independent of local politics, it has to play kiss-ass to the ultimate law-makers in Kosova that keep its budget at 1400% of next biggest TV station. With this kind of market, any fine by UNMIK will put other media out of business.

Anonymous said...

These KFOR soldiers were French so...I was not impressed with them