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Friday, July 9, 1999 Published at 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK


World: Europe

'Mass grave' sealed off

Villagers in Ljubenica say Serbs shot 58 people at this house

International peacekeepers in Kosovo have sealed off the site of alleged mass graves containing as many as 350 bodies in the west of the province.

Kosovo: Special Report
If true, it would be by far the biggest such site uncovered since K-For troops took control of Kosovo following Nato's 11-week bombing campaign.

Major Jan Joosten said reports of mass graves near the village of Ljubenic had been received on Thursday evening from local Kosovo Albanians and would be investigated by Italian forces, who control the western zone, along with the International War Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.


The BBC's Nikki Albon: "Every fresh discovery of a mass grave fuels the flames of ethnic tension in Kosovo"
The reports come barely a week after peacekeepers discovered suspected mass graves, thought to contain up to 140 bodies of Kosovo Albanians, in the south-western village of Celine.

The nearest town - Velika Krusa - is where more than 100 civilians are believed to have been murdered by Serbs, in an incident which forms part of the war crimes indictment against President Slobodan Milosevic.

Anger over the missing


BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus: "Only now, a tally of the missing and killed can be drawn up"
In Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina, hundreds of Kosovo Albanians have been demonstrating outside the United Nations headquarters.

They were demanding news about Kosovo's disappeared, the hundreds of people they say were detained by Serb forces and have not been seen since.

They believe some of the missing people were taken away by the Serbs as they left the province.

Serbs driven back to Kosovo


[ image:  ]
Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency - the UNHCR - has condemned Yugoslavia for what it says is a concerted campaign to drive up to 100,000 Serb refugees back to Kosovo.


The BBC's Jeremy Cooke: "The task of of the war crime investigators in daunting"
A UNHCR spokesman says the Yugoslav authorities were depriving them of salaries and pensions to force them to return.

The spokesman said 8,000 of the Serbs had been forced back so far, and many may have been attacked

The UNHCR says that in the past 48 hours there has been a sharp rise in arson attacks on Serb homes in the south of Kosovo.

Correspondents say, many Kosovo Albanians cannot bear the thought of sharing the province with Serbs.


[ image: Bukoshi: 'Full independence']
Bukoshi: 'Full independence'
The prime minister of the Kosovo government in exile, Bujar Bukoshi, has said on that ethnic Albanians expected full independence in Kosovo.

Calling for the "total disappearance of Serbian state authority" in Kosovo, he said the Kosovo Albanian authorities would oppose the return of Serbian state authority "with all its might".

Speaking in Bonn, Mr Bukoshi, who is also Democratic League of Kosovo secretary-general, said that Serb nationalism would reamin a threat long after the eventual disposal of President Milosevic.

"Milosevic's end does not mean the end of nationalism in Serbia," he said. Bukoshi, called on the international community to develop administrative structures in Kosovo as soon as possible with the participation of the Kosovo Albanians.

Anti-Milosevic declarations

In Serbia, the voices calling for Mr Milosevic's removal from power continue to gain in strength and number.
[ image: The opposition protests 'will continue']
The opposition protests 'will continue'
The town council of Sombor in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina has adopted a resolution calling for the resignation of Mr Milosevic, according to local radio reports.

Twenty-nine out of the 34 councillors present voted in favour of the motion, which was put forward by representatives on the council of the Alliance for Change coalition.

Those councillors belonging to the Serbian Radical Party abstained from the vote, while councillors from the Socialist Party of Serbia voted against, according to the radio.

The motion also called for the resignation of the Vojvodina, Serbian and Yugoslav governments.

The Serbian opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, has said his Alliance for Change is planning daily anti-government protests across Serbia over the next three weeks, culminating in a mass rally in the capital, Belgrade.

The Alliance is demanding that President Milosevic hand over power to an internationally-backed transitional government that would prepare fresh elections.

Correspondents say that Mr Milosevic's government does not seem worried by the protests, which are backed by only part of Serbia's divided opposition.

Meanwhile Montenegro has announced plans for talks with Serbia next Wednesday on its proposals for reforming the federal links between the two republics.

In a British newspaper interview the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Filip Vujanovic, said that if the talks failed to win Montenegro full equality with Serbia, his government would push for full independence.

'Nowhere to go'

US Defence Secretary William Cohen, who is currently touring European capitals, said that President Milosevic would find no safe refuge and should turn himself in to be tried for war crimes at the Hague war crimes tribunal.

Reacting to media speculation that Mr Milosevic could find a safe haven if he stood down, the defence secretary said at a press conference in Copenhagen: "He is an indicted war criminal."

" If there is any place which he seeks sanctuary perhaps I would recommend The Hague where he could face a trial and then decide his future," said Cohen.

The tribunal has indicted Milosevic and four other leading Serb politicians for war crimes alleged to have been committed in Kosovo.



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Internet Links


Kosovo Crisis Centre

Serbian Ministry of Information

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UNHCR Kosovo crisis update

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