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Monday, 6 December, 1999, 15:20 GMT
Living in fear in Kosovo
A Serb woman walking out of Kosovo Fleeing the province: Thousands of Serbs have left Kosovo


By Jon Leyne in Pristina

Testimony gathered from more than 3,000 witnesses and refugees has been compiled in a report by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the organisation responsible for monitoring human rights in Kosovo.

But the OSCE report also highlights the persecution of the Serbs within Kosovo since Nato moved in.

With Winter rapidly approaching, Hashim Mullah has nearly finished work on his home.

He's rebuilt it from nothing in a matter of months.

Serb families have left formally mixed villages
The whole village in the Drenica Valley was destroyed by Serb forces in a typical operation very soon after the start of the Nato air campaign.

Hashim told me how the Serbs attacked the village and then moved local people on in what appeared to be systematic operation.

On one day, 64 buses were brought to a local town to take people away.

The railway line close to Hashim's village has just been re-opened for aid shipments.

But during the Nato air campaign, Kosovo's railways served a much more sinister purpose.

I returned to the main station close to Pristina, which there had been scenes reminiscent of the Holocaust.

People who were there on that day have described how they were taken to the station, where extra trains were laid on to take them into exile.

Up to 60,000 people could be waiting here in terrible scenes.

It's one of the strongest indications that the expulsion of the Kosovo Albanian population was systematic and planned.

The town of Orahovac appears to have returned to normal.

A K-For soldier Protection: Serbs accuse K-For of not doing enough
But it's the Serbs who are suffering. Serb children live in their own enclave as virtual prisoners.

Teachers in the school that I visited described how their pupils were traumatised, finding it hard to remember lessons or even to sleep at night.

At a local cafe, one of the teachers was queueing for the only opportunity to contact the outside world, a one-minute satellite phone call provided by an international charity.

She used to teach Serbian to local Albanian children. Now they are too afraid even to speak to her.

"Before the war, I taught one student Albanian and we talked in the school and in the class.

"In the street the student cannot now even say hello to me because of other Albanian people, political people."

In the neighbouring village of Velika Hoca, the funeral was being held for two Serbian men. Despite Nato protection, they were shot close to their homes while they were out chopping firewood.

One of the village leaders said that people there were genuinely confused about what was happening.

"It's very hard to understand things like this," he said. "It's a very old village.

People have been living here for 1,000 years. We have 13 churches in this village and they really cannot understand why everything happened here."

Almost the entire population of the village turned out for the funeral.

Some Serbs here are wondering whether it's finally time to leave.

Around half the pre-war Serbian population of Kosovo has already gone.

For those remaining, the future holds little hope.

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See also:
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Horrors of Kosovo revealed
12 Nov 99 |  Europe
Q & A: Counting Kosovo's dead
10 Nov 99 |  Europe
UN gives figure for Kosovo dead

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