In the last few days the Serb population of Kosovo and Metohija have been exposed to the new wave of violence by Albanian extremists which continue thier campaign of intimidation and persecution of the remaining Kosovo Serbs. After the winter period of relative calm the new victims of terrorist attacks have marked the beginning of the infamous "spring season" which is known as a period of increased activity of ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo and Macedonia.
UNMIK chief Michael Steiner has recently assessed that "safety of Serbs was the biggest problem", and that creation of safe environment would be one of the testing issues for international community in evaluating progress in Kosovo. The situation on the ground confirms the concerns of the new Special Representative of the UN in Kosovo.
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A SERB WOMAN IN KOSOVO RIDDLED WITH BULLETS
Lipljan, February 22, 2002
Ljubica Kovacevic, 57, a Serb woman from Lipljan was killed on Friday (Feb 21) in Lipljan (15. km south of Pristina) when an unindentified attacker opened fire by a machine gun and riddled her with 30 bullets. This information was confirmed to Beta News Agency by UNMIK spokesman Andrea Angeli. The attack occured at 19.00. After the attack Mrs. Kovacevic was transfered to hospital where her death was immediately confirmed.
This news was also confirmed for B92 Radio by the Secretary of the Lipljan Municipality Mr. Milorad Dekic who said that the murder occured in one of the back streets in the center of Lipljan. "The murderer was hidden behind the heap of the building material and when Mrs. Kovacevic approached with her husband the attacker opened the fire. She was killed at the spot and her husband survived without any injuries", Dekic said. He also reported that the Serbs of Lipljan are alarmed are shocked this murder but nevertheless he called the present situation stable. "The people are very alarmed. No incidents have happened after the murder and our people gathered spontainously. It is also interested that many Albanians gathered after the murder. We could see more of their cars driving along the streets only a few minutes after the armed attack. They seemed to be triumphant. We have scheduled a protest meeting on Sunday when we are going to issue an official protest to the international bodies and the Sebian state authorities", Dekic said.
He also said that the Serbs had asked a check point to be installed near the location where the attack occured but that was done only the next morning after the murder. "We had asked before from KFOR to place a vehicle there for the sake of better security because this was the area frequented by Serbs. We have pointed out this to all internatinal representatives who talked to us but everyone remained deaf to our repeated requests. It seems that something like this had to happen that they finally realize what is going on. Today we have seen the military vehicle, but we still do not know how long it will be there", said Dekic.
UNMIK Spokesperson Andrea Angeli has confirmed that the international police have found the weapons near the place of attack. Investigation is still ongoing.
(Source: Radio B92, Local Serb sources in Lipljan)