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Sunday, June 20, 1999 Published at 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK


World: Europe

The spoils of Kosovo's war

Kosovo Albanians have been looting Serbian houses

By the BBC's Matt Frei in Grace

Kosovo: Special Report
Watched by their Albanian neighbours, the Serbs of Grace are leaving their village, home for three centuries.

Minutes later, the neighbours are waiting to cross the road to the now abandoned houses.

With the last Serb gone, the race for the loot is on. From everywhere they came, to collect their spoils of war.


Matt Frei reports on the looting in Grace
"Don't film," one father and son team shouted at the BBC cameramen as they loaded up.

Next door, a man had helped himself to just about everything he could carry, although he managed to drop the looted washing powder.


[ image: The Kosovo Albanians are recently-returned refugees]
The Kosovo Albanians are recently-returned refugees
And the people doing the looting are Albanian refugees who returned to their own burnt-out houses only this morning.

One former refugee said he had been hiding out with others in one of three houses up in the mountains with little children. He described the grenades falling.

Many Kosovo Albanians said they were merely taking what had once belonged to them before the Serbs had stolen it.


[ image: They lose no time in attacking Serbian property]
They lose no time in attacking Serbian property
"Look what they've done to my fridge," said one, attacking the contents of a fridge he claimed had formerly been his own.

A K-For unit of French Legionnaires watched the scenes at Grace unfold.

"We're not going to intervene," the sergeant said.

"I'm on my own here. I'm more concerned about the housing being set on fire."


[ image: Some argue that the property has been stolen from them anyway]
Some argue that the property has been stolen from them anyway
But it was too late.

As the Legionnaires looked on, burning began on the other side of the village. The reprisals have already started.

Some houses were burnt by Kosovo Albanian refugees only minutes after Serbs fled this house.






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