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Monday, June 14, 1999 Published at 22:55 GMT 23:55 UK


World: Europe

Recrimination in Prizren

A day of triumph for the Albanians - but terror for the Serbs

By Jeremy Bowen in Prizren

On Wednesday, Prizren's Albanians were having the party of their lives.

Kosovo: Special Report
It was the day when the defeat of the Prizren Serbs was sealed, after a war that almost broke the Albanians apart.

It was thanks to foreign soldiers, but it was the Albanian people's greatest moment.

But the Serbs in Prizren felt anything but free.


[ image: Serbs pack their bags]
Serbs pack their bags
They were ready to leave, terrified that Albanian fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army would kill them if they stayed. They said there was a gun in every car.

As they drove off, German K-For soldiers kept the crowd back.

Innocent Serbs have suffered enormously since Yugoslavia started breaking up.


Watch Jeremy Bowen's report
But not one tear was shed for them by the people who stayed behind in Prizren, who suffered so much themselves at the hands of Serb forces.

K-For's biggest challenge is controlling the rage and desire for revenge both sides have.


[ image: Convoy winds its way through the mountains]
Convoy winds its way through the mountains
Then it was the Serbian military's turn.

Some of them tried to get out of town as quickly as possible. Others slowed down, to eyeball Albanians one last time.

The convoy had hundreds of vehicles, thousands of people. It headed for Serbia through the mountains to avoid Albanian KLA fighters.

Trapped in Prizren

Back in Prizren, about 100 Serbs who could not get out took refuge in a church, terrified by what was happening outside.

A few Serb businesses were looted.

These were isolated incidents, but they will confirm the Serb's worst fears of the Albanians.


[ image: Serbs are frightened]
Serbs are frightened
A few hundred yards away, fighters from the KLA entered the town, and were treated like heroes.

The fighters and their families think this is their victory as much as Nato's.

Prizren's Albanians dreamt about this. It is the reason why so many Serbs left. It will worry Nato's leaders, who think real peace is much further away than most people here think.



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