[occ] Attacks On Serb Civilians and their Churches in Kosovo Continued
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Attacks on Serb civilians and their Churches in Kosovo Continued
Gracanica Monastery, March 1, 2000
In the last several days the anti-Serb ethnic violence in Kosovo has
dramatically increased. We are constantly receiving reports from the
ground on various acts of violence, harassments, threats and murders.
On Sunday, Feb 27, at 20.30 six mortars were fired on the Visoki Decani
Monastery. They fell and exploded in the monastery garden, thirty meters
south from the Monastery church built in 1327. The mortars exploded in
the very vicinity of the Italian KFOR checkpoint. This heinous attack on
the only remaining Serb community in the area has greatly disturbed the
brotherhood and the Italian soldiers. The monastery was threatened many
times so far by the local Albanian extremists who want to destroy this
Medieval Christian shrine as well as more than 80 other Orthodox
churches destroyed after the end of the war. The attack occurred on the
eve of the Albanian celebration of the founding of KLA.
On Friday, Feb 25, the Serbian Orthodox priests from Gnjilane confirmed
that exactly at 20.00 unknown assailants threw a grenade on the Western
portal of the Serb Orthodox cathedral of St. Nicholas. The explosion
damaged the improvised tent under which Serb elementary school children
attend lessons because they are not allowed by local Albanians to go to
a regular school. The entrance of the church and the tent were damaged
in this attack.
On Saturday, Feb 26, around at 8.00 in the morning a respected Serb
doctor gynecologist JOSIF VASIC (38) was shot in Gnjilane. Unknown
assailants shot four hits on Vasic who died soon after. At the end of
January 2000 a Serb woman MITRA VASIC from the Klobukar village near
Gnjilane was killed by Albanian extremists. She was slaughtered and
stabbed by a sharp pole while her house with her body were set on fire.
The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren is outraged by such an
escalation of ethnic violence against the remaining Kosovo Serbs in the
Province. These attacks unfortunately prove that Kosovo is still a
lawless place and that the goal of the ethnic Albanian extremists
remains to ethnically cleanse the southern Serbias province and drive
all remaining Serbs and non-Albanians out of Kosovo.
It is more than 8 months that such crimes are being carried by ethnic
Albanians with impunity in the presence of the international
peacekeepers and the UN mission.
In the same time Albanian extremist press published in Pristina is
strongly attacking Bishop Artemije. In his editorial, Skender Buçpapaj,
editor-in-chief of Bota Sot newspaper openly violated Dr. Kouchners
regulation on hate speech and spilled out all kinds of lies and insults
on the Serb Orthodox hierarch. On the other hand extremist Serb media
from Belgrade continue with their accusations that the Serbian Orthodox
Church with Bishop Artemije has betrayed the Serbian people. Such
attacks in extremist media clearly demonstrate that the moderate
position of Bishop Artemije and the Serb National Council to which late
Dr. Vasic belonged too is branded as the most serious enemy of
extremists on both sides.
INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica Monastery, Pristina,
Kosovo and Metohija
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