Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission Daily Report; 30 Dec.

from US Department of State
Published on 30 Dec 1998
Released by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, Office of South Central European Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC

Compiled by EUR/SCE (202-647-4850) from daily reports of the U.S. element of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission

December 30, 1998

The cease-fire continued unabated without incident today as severe winter weather conditions prevailed throughout Kosovo.

U.S. KDOM escorted Richard Miles, American charge in Belgrade, on an area tour today. He visited U.S. KDOM personnel and facilities in Malisevo, Dragobilje, Urosevac, Kosovo Polje, and Pristina. He also was briefed on the current U.S. KDOM operational situation and transition to Kosovo Verification Mission.

U.S. KDOM observed a VJ unit -- consisting of several armored personnel carriers with engineering equipment -- deployed throughout the Stimlje pass. The police appeared to be setting up new emplacements at the top of the pass.

U.S. KDOM also observed activity at a police checkpoint (NE of Komorane) which consisted of six police and an armored troop carrier. They waved through several buses and civilian vehicles when KDOM appeared.

Meeting with U.S. KDOM, villagers in Sipitula (SW of Obilic) claimed that police were regularly firing on their village whenever the fog lifted, and that they were afraid to work in their fields for fear of being shot. They also said most local residents had fled the area out of fear of renewed fighting. The KDOM patrol observed an unauthorized police checkpoint south of the village. U.S. KDOM responded to complaints from an Albanian Stimlje resident that her husband had been arrested and taken away this morning, but was unable to confirm the report or quickly resolve the situation at the local police station. Villagers in Racak claimed that the police don't allow them to enter Stimlje.

U.S. KDOM and OSCE human rights representatives spoke with a KLA representative about a reported mass grave of 11 women and children near Urosevac. Pictures of the grave and its approximate location were provided, but adverse road conditions prevented U.S. KDOM from entering the area. U.S. KDOM asked the OSCE representative to follow up on this report.

In their daily report, the police claimed three small arms attacks against their patrols: two in the village of Saptej, Decane municipality; and another in the village of Glodjane, Decane municipality.

In the Pristina zone, U.S. KDOM ran 11 missions today. It has access to 45 remaining personnel and 16 fully-armored veh