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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Belgrade exhumes Danube bodies
Mr Milosevic in Belgrade last year
Mr Milosevic is accused of covering up evidence
By James Luckhurst

The exhumation has begun of dozens of bodies that were recovered from the Danube two years ago, according to the Serbian interior minister, Dusan Mihailovic.

The bodies, believed to be those of murdered ethnic Albanians, were contained in a refrigerated truck allegedly dumped in the river during the Kosovo war.

Although Mr Mihailovic would not disclose the location of the mass grave, the Belgrade-based B-92 radio station said it was close to the capital.

It reported that bodies of women, children and old people had been found, as well as three heads without bodies and some corpses in military uniforms of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.

'Casualties hidden'

The bodies were removed from the refrigerated truck two years ago, and later secretly buried in a suspected cover-up operation by security service units loyal to the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic.

It was only in April of this year that the story emerged through a local newspaper report.

Soon after, the Serbian Government accused Mr Milosevic and his close associates of covering up evidence of possible war crimes against civilians during military operations in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999.

It said the former president had ordered his then interior minister to hide civilian casualties who could be the subject of potential investigations by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Mr Milosevic is now in a Belgrade prison, pending criminal investigations on a wide range of alleged wrongdoings.

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18 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic's life behind bars
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