Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK

World: Europe

Massacre victims laid to rest

The widow of one of the victims is comforted at the Gracko funeral

Fourteen Serb farmers killed in their fields in Kosovo last week have been buried amid tight security, as investigators question four people in connection with the massacre.

Kosovo: Special Report
Between 200 and 300 mourners gathered for the ceremony in the village of Gracko.

The funerals took place in the open air to the chanting of Orthodox priests as incense and the wails of grieving women filled the air.

Several women fainted in the intense noon heat.


A Nato military spokesman in Pristina would not reveal the ethnicity of the four people arrested in connection with the killings.

The spokesman said that four homes were raided in the Gracko area by the British Royal Military Police.

The BBC's Orla Guerin reports from Gracko: "The village was overwhelmed by grief"
If any charges are brought, a trial would take place in one of the new ethnically-balanced courts set up by the international community in Kosovo.

The farmers were shot dead as they returned from harvesting hay on Friday. It was the worst single incident of violence since K-For entered Kosovo last month.

[ image: The killings have rocked the community]
The killings have rocked the community
Afterwards, it emerged the victims had asked Nato for protection, fearing revenge attacks from Kosovo Albanians, but extra security promised was not put in place until the following day.

The farmers' bodies were buried in the local cemetery, which Serbs from other Kosovo villages helped to prepare on Tuesday.

A contingent of 100 British troops was present in Gracko to keep a close eye on the ceremony and a team of engineers combed the village for explosives.

'A protest for the living'

[ image:  ]
UN administrator Bernard Kouchner and the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriach Pavle, were present at the ceremony.

Fourteen oak coffins were laid out on the village playing fields, each one covered in flowers, an photograph of the victim and, as is traditional in Serbian funerals, a new shirt pinned to a cross.

After the ceremony, the coffins were taken on a tractor trailer to be buried at the local cemetary.

"It's a demonstration of sorrow for the dead and a protest for the living,'' said Father Milorad of Pristina.

[ image: Patriach Pavle and Bernard Kouchner at the funeral]
Patriach Pavle and Bernard Kouchner at the funeral
He said Serbs were not satisfied with the protection from K-For, the Nato-led peacekeeping forces.

There have been numerous killings and hundreds of house burnings since the peacekeepers entered the province and Yugoslav forces moved out.

Most of the incidents have been revenge attacks carried out by Kosovo Albanians against the Serb minority.

Tens of thousands of Serbs have fled the province in fear of their safety.

Serbs shot dead in car

On Tuesday, two Serbs were found dead in a car near Vuciturn in northern Kosovo, the independent, Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported.

[ image:  ]
French soldiers found the two victims lying in a car riddled with bullets.

The state-run Yugoslav news agency, Tanjug, says about 45 Serbs have been killed and 18 wounded in sectarian attacks in recent weeks.

The agency also says there have been more than 600 cases of "attempted murder".

But other sources suggest between 60 and 80 ethnic Serbs have been killed in Pristina alone.

On Sunday, the Yugoslav mission at the UN called for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the violence against Serbs in Kosovo.

The letter from the Yugoslav ambassador also insisted that Yugoslav troops be allowed to re-enter the province to protect Serbs, Tanjug reported.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

28 Jul 99 | Europe
Serb opposition leader in court

28 Jul 99 | Europe
Donors aim to rebuild Kosovo

28 Jul 99 | Americas
Nato commander to leave early

26 Jul 99 | Europe
Massacre inquiry delays Serb funerals

26 Jul 99 | Europe
Can K-For control Kosovo?

25 Jul 99 | UK
Serbs just missed army protection

24 Jul 99 | Europe
Serb farmers gunned down

25 Jul 99 | Europe
Anti-Milosevic protests grow

22 Jul 99 | Kosovo
Living with fear in Pristina

17 Jul 99 | Europe
Kosovo reprisals horrify UN

Internet Links

UN in Kosovo

Kosovo Crisis Centre

Serb Ministry of Information


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift