Serbia + 1 more

Kosovo: Killings and "disappearance" in Ade village -- Amnesty International reports from the field

News and Press Release
Originally published
News Service: 093/99
AI INDEX: EUR 70/62/99
12 May 1999
Two refugees who were forcibly expelled from the village of Ade by Serbian police have reported to Amnesty International delegates in Macedonia the killings of four men, and the "disappearance" of another at the hands of Serbian security forces.

Ade (Albanian "Hade") is a village of approximately 1,500 inhabitants in the Obilic area, 10 kilometres west of Pristina, with an entirely ethnic Albanian population. According to the two men interviewed by Amnesty International -- a father and son whose names are being kept confidential at their request -- on the morning of 18 April a group of police accompanied by an armoured car and armed with automatic weapons arrived at their village. Their house -- which is on the edge of the village -- was apparently the first that the police encountered. The police were reportedly firing shots as they arrived, and some bullets hit the house.

The father went outside and approached a group of police with his hands raised, asking them in Serbian what they wanted. The police asked him if he was the owner of the house and who was inside, and upon being told that the whole family was there ordered him to fetch them out and leave. As he was returning to the house, more shots were fired and his other son -- 42-year-old Milaim, a teacher in the village school -- fearing that his father had been killed, opened the door and was hit and wounded by gunfire in the lower part of his body.

As the rest of the family left the building the father reapproached the police and told them that his son had been wounded. The family was permitted to take the wounded man with them. As they passed the nearby house of Ajet M, a relative, they saw a group of police in its yard, where they had detained the members of the household and two neighbours who had been visiting. According to the two witnesses, the police separated the men from the women, who were allowed to join their group, while Ajet M, his son Fitim M, and the two neighbours Jakup and Mexhit M (also father and son) remained held by the police.

Other people were also forced out of their homes by the police, who began to set fire to some of the houses. The inhabitants gathered at the village mosque, from where they attempted to flee to another part of the village, some by tractor and others on foot, but were turned back by security forces, who told them that there was fighting in the area. Milaim, who was being transported in a tractor trailer, died during this journey, about five hours after being shot. The family buried him in the village graveyard the following morning.

Two days later, Milaim's brother and some other villagers returned to Ajet M's house, where they reportedly found the bodies of Fitim, Jakup and Mexhit M in a half-burnt barn in the house yard. The bodies were severely burned, and they were unable to locate any trace of Ajet M. Due to the condition of the bodies they were unable to see the cause of death. These bodies too were buried in the graveyard.

A week later local police came to the house where they were sheltering and told them to get ready to leave the next morning. The following morning (28 April) buses arrived at the village, the inhabitants boarded them and were driven to the Macedonian border. Some of the buses were diverted to Albania where they arrived later the same day.

Although there had previously been clashes in the area between FRY and Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Milaim's father stated that none of those detained or killed had any political affiliations. Amnesty International believes that they may have been extra-judicially executed, and that Ajet M has "disappeared".

Source: Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom