Albanians in southern Serbia to "undertake other steps" apart from protests
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - January 6, 2009 Tuesday

Excerpt from report in English by Serbian pro-western Belgrade-based Radio B92 website, on 6 January

Presevo, 6 January: [Passage omitted: covered] More than a thousand protesters carried placards reading, "Presevo valley is Kosovo", "NATO control in Presevo valley", as well as Albanian and EU flags, and photographs of the 10 arrested suspects.

The local ethnic Albanians demonstrating today also said they view the arrests as "pressure on them to move out" of this area in southern Serbia, which they referred to as "eastern Kosovo".

Former members of the so-called Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army (Albanian: UCPMB) Orhan Redzepi, said that Albanians will, beside protests, "undertake other steps".

When asked which steps he had in mind, Redzepi said, "we'll see".

UCPMB was an offshoot of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, Albanian: UCK, Serbian: OVK) which attacked Serbian security forces in the area after the 1999 war in the province.

"I think that with this, the poking of the sleeping lion has started, only, it would be good not to stab it, because it would turn from a sleeping to a wounded lion," Redzepi elaborated.

Asked about the likely influence the protests will have on the security situation in the south of Serbia, he said that "Albanians cannot take responsibility for that".

"The government of Serbia, that is, the MUP [Ministry of Internal Affairs], are guilty for everything that is happening here, ask them," said Redzepi.

The 10 ethnic Albanians arrested in December [2008] were members of KLA's Gnjilane Group. They are suspected of committing war crimes, that include kidnapping, rape, torture, mutilation and murder of at least 51 Kosovo Serb civilians.

The crimes took place in the Gnjilane region after the 1999 war - from June to October that year.

Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1924 gmt 6 Jan 09
Posted for Fair Use only.