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Tuesday, June 15, 1999 Published at 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK


World: Europe

A land of desecration and death

An old man sits outside his ruined home where his son was killed

By BBC Correspondent Jeremy Bowen in Kosovo

In the south west of Kosovo, Nato troops have uncovered more gruesome evidence of war crimes committed in the past few months.


Jeremy Bowen: You can smell decay and death
It takes half an hour to drive from Prizren to Djakovica through a blasted landscape. Across bridges, camouflaged by the Serbs against Nato air strikes, and through empty villages and death.

After a few minutes, you get to Velika Krusa, also known as Krusa-e-Mahde - it seems at least 20 people here were imprisoned by the Serbs in a single house.


[ image:  ]
Inside, all that is left are their burnt bodies and bones. German soldiers are mounting guard.

Back on the road, the Germans are spreading out as the Serbs leave and heavy fire power arrives, making non-Serbs feel much better.

Just outside the next village, an Albanian fighter from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) took us to a mass grave.

He said they had checked for mines. It was still an uncomfortable journey.

They said around 70 people are buried here in several graves, shot by Serbs, just hours after Nato's first attacks.


[ image: A shoe marks a mass grave]
A shoe marks a mass grave
Asked how many bodies there were, a local man pointed to different sites around him.

''Thirty-seven here. Two here. Six here. 30 here,'' he says.

It's a shallow grave. They did not have much time to bury their people, they had to work at night under KLA guard.

The air is full of flies and you can smell decay and death.

Acres of destruction

On the edge of Djakovica, known by Albanians as Jakova, are the remains of the military barracks destroyed by Nato at the start of the war.


[ image: Locals say the Serbs torched their homes]
Locals say the Serbs torched their homes
KLA fighters are here too, coming back to their homes. After the first Nato air strikes people here said Serb forces rampaged through Djakovica's old town.

They burnt it down and killed anyone who got in their way. There are acres of destruction.

One woman told us the whole place was in flames for four and a half hours after the Serbs set fire to the town at midnight.

It will take years to rebuild - too long for one elderly man who simply sits outside his house where the Serbs killed his son.





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