Page 442 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Bishop atanasije (jevtić)
released soon afterward for “lack of evidence”! The impres- sion was clear: that those responsible in NaTO and other international forums had simply allowed the albanians to carry out their revenge, to expel as many Serbs as possible in order to achieve an “ethnically pure” Kosovo, i.e. less Serbs and other non-albanians, and thus prejudice the fu- ture “solution” of the Kosovo issue in the direction of abso- lute predominance and outvoting by the albanians. This was also demonstrated by the one-sided and biased work of all four of the UN High Representatives and other UN- MiK structures, which were slow to be established, and for the Serbs have been and remain today ineffective and un- just. For despite the presence of NaTO and UNMiK the cities of Prizren, Peć, Klina, Uroševac, Gnjilane, Vitina, al- most all of Metohija and many other previously mixed set- tlements throughout Kosovo and Metohija have been emp- tied of Serbs.
in Orahovac just between june 14 and 16 approximate- ly 600 Serbs from various parts of the town fled to the Ser- bian quarter near the church, where the people organized themselves, ready in case of need to offer resistance to the albanians who were appropriating Serbian property and torching Serbian houses. However, this was not very suc- cessful because in Orahovac out of over 6,000 Serbs barely 2,000 remain. The situation grew more and more difficult from day to day in other parts of the Province, too. Thus on june 17 about 5,000 Serbs left Uroševac and area under armed KFOR escort. about 500 Serbs were left stranded at the railway station from where they were evacuated with great difficulty on june 18. according to UNHCR reports, at the same time thousands of albanians from all sides were entering the Province. in just five days about 50,000 people entered the Province while, according to the report of the international Red Cross, a total of 50,000–60,000 Serbs left Kosovo and Metohija in the period from june 13–18, 1999. The situation was became increasingly diffi- cult in the Gnjilane area where several attacks, murders and kidnappings of Serbs by the albanians were recorded in the first days, even though there had been no persecu- tion of albanians nor looting or destruction of their homes in Gnjilane or anywhere in Kosovsko Pomoravlje.
at the same time on the territory of Metohija around Peć and Dečani the remaining Serbs were quickly leaving their homes. During those days some Serb peasants were found dead while large villages such as Belo Polje and Vito- mirica near Peć were completely emptied of Serbs. The Serbs of Belo Polje were forced from their houses and left in the direction of Montenegro on june 19 after three Serbs were found slaughtered by the albanians. in the ensuing days the albanians looted and torched all Serbian houses and burned down and ruined the old village church in Belo Polje. in the first few days Metropolitan amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral arrived in the Peć Patriarch- ate with his monks, who received several hundred people fleeing out of fear of the albanian terror. The Metropolitan
established contact with the italian KFOR command and made great efforts to stop the crimes against the Serbs. in the city of Peć itself soon there was not a single Serb left; those who wanted to leave out of fear in the direction of central Serbia or Montenegro were escorted in convoys by the italians from the Peć Patriarchate. During the first two months (june-july 1999) the Metropolitan and his monks found and buried about 30 Serb bodies, mostly of elderly men and women, who were found throughout the Peć ar- ea, usually massacred in the most brutal manner (the pic- tures of these bodies have been published). The monks of Visoki Dečani Monastery also immediately established contact with the italian forces and requested guard posts around the Monastery. a few remaining Serbs from the small town of Dečani itself found sanctuary in the monas- tery while four people were kidnapped by the KLa. Soon there was no longer any Serbian population left in the en- tire municipality of Dečani and all Serbian property was immediately seized and partially destroyed. Dečani Mon- astery, having already received Serbian and albanian refu- gees, now gave shelter not only to Serbs but also to Roma, with some 50 of them staying in the monastery after the albanians torched their houses. also staying in the mon- astery was one Muslim family of Goranci.
almost all Serbs from Djakovica left their homes dur- ing the first days. The last ones remaining gathered around the small parish church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in the well-known old Srpska ulica (Serbian street), where after a series of evacuations only six Serbian old ladies remained, who today live in complete isolation under the protection of italian KFOR.49 These six old la- dies, led by retired schoolteacher Poleksija Kastratović, will be remembered as a model of courage and Christian faith during this tragic period in the history of Metohija and Kosovo. a number of Serbian residents of Djakovica disap- peared without a trace; according to the testimony of a number of witnesses, they were taken to private KLa camps, where some of them were tortured and immediately exe- cuted.50
49 These elderly ladies were evacuated by italian KFOR on March 17 when thousands of Kosovo albanian rioters attacked their parish home and church with stones and petrol bombs. after their evacua- tion to Dečani Monastery, the church and their home were looted and set on fire. in the following days all remnants of the church were completely removed.
50 Recently 37 bodies were found in a cemetery in the village of Piškote near Djakovica and the majority of them have been identi- fied as Serbs. in general during the past year and a half many mass graves have been found, the largest in Suva Reka with 150 graves; at the Orthodox cemetery in Prizren, 34; in Dragodan i and ii near Priština, 114—in which the bodies of murdered Serbs have been iden- tified who were first tortured and massacred, according to the head of the Office for exhumation and identification of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Professor Dr. Slaviša Dobričanin. Unfortunately, there are still many mass graves in Kosovo and Meto- hija where kidnapped and murdered Serbs are buried. NaTO and UNMiK know this but they are gradually releasing information re-

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