Gang murders lone Serb grandmother
By Philip Smucker in Luzane, Yugoslavia
BRITISH troops were yesterday mourning the loss of a proud but stubborn Serb grandmother whom they had tried to protect from Albanian gangs preying on defenseless old women throughout Kosovo.
About a dozen of the King's Royal Hussars stood guard with two tanks in front of Godsa Draza's two-room home, a day after she had been brutally killed. Capt Nick Perry said the murderers broke down a gate before shooting Mrs Draza twice through the chest. They then threw her body on to a dung heap and covered it with hay.
Capt Perry said: "My soldiers are all extremely upset about this. Grandmother Draza was one of the kindest ladies we met and she had tried to protect the homes of her Albanian neighbours during the war. She was the only Serb left for miles around but she refused to go and we respected her for that."
British soldiers had dropped in on Mrs Draza twice a day in "surprise visits" meant to keep would-be assailants guessing. On those occasions she had made them some Turkish coffee and joked about the Nato bombing. On two occasions the troops had taken her to visit her two sons living in one of the few "Serbian ghettos" remaining in Kosovo. Both times, soldiers had
remained in her home to protect her belongings.
Yesterday her son Mila arrived at her home with a British lorry to pack the last of the family belongings. He said he planned to give the family cow to an Albanian for safekeeping.
British troops said the neighbours had still not offered any clues as to who might have committed the murder. Troops have stepped up patrols around the homes of elderly Serb women in a mission they call the "Granny Beat", following several killings, one of a grandmother drowned in her bathtub last week.
United Nations officials estimate that 130,000 Serbs have abandoned their homes out of fear of revenge attacks since the end of the Nato air strikes and the deployment of the KFOR peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. Nato forces reported yesterday that a Serb man was killed and his wife injured by Albanian gunmen in their apartment building in the city of Prizren, while a Serb woman and her two-year-old daughter were shot in the western city of Pones.