Attacks on Likošane and Ćirez

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Coordinates: 42°41′N 20°54′E / 42.683°N 20.900°E / 42.683; 20.900

Attacks on Likošane and Ćirez
Part of the Kosovo War
Date 27 February–1 March 1998
Location Likošane and Ćirez, AP Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia
Belligerents
Serbian special police UCK KLA.svg Kosovo Liberation Army
Strength
Several APCs, a helicopter Unknown
Casualties and losses
Four policemen killed, two seriously wounded 16[1]
26 Albanians killed (including civilians)[2]

On 27–28 February 1998, Serbian police were attacked by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), prompting operations in the two villages of Likošane and Ćirez near Glogovac, resulting in the killings of 16 KLA, and 26 Kosovo Albanians, including civilians.

On 28 February 1998, a firefight erupted between Albanian militants and a Serbian police patrol in the small village of Likošane. Four Serbian policemen were killed and several were injured. The KLA militants, one of whom was Adem Jashari, escaped. Subsequently, Serbian police killed thirteen people in a nearby household. Later that same day, Serbian policemen attacked the neighbouring village of Ćirez and subsequently killed 26 Albanians. However, the Albanian militants who had incited the violence managed to escape and the police decided to move in on Adem Jashari and his family.[3]

Background[edit]

According to HRW (1998)[edit]

On 28 February 1998, according to Serbian police, armed Albanians attacked a police patrol near the village of Likošane, killing four policemen and seriously wounding two.[4] A pro-government report told that there were three simultaneous attacks on police patrols.[4] Albanians from Likošane informed the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that they heard shooting near the village around 11 PM, and some heard that the police had been ambushed there.[4] Unconfirmed reports tell that armed Albanians attacked the police-based ammunition plant near Donji Prekaz on 27 February, and that the police were ambushed at Likošane after a police chase.[4]

According to AI (1999)[edit]

Albanian witnesses stated that events began on the evening of 27 February, "when the KLA fired at a school housing Bosnian or Croatian Serb refugees in the nearby town of Srbica".[5] According to Amnesty International:

The vehicle carrying KLA men was chased by police towards Likosane and a short firefight ensued. Police brought in reinforcements and the KLA may also have done so. In the fighting which followed, apparently mainly on 28 February, the police used heavy force including armoured vehicles and helicopters and the KLA apparently withdrew. Amnesty International believes that most of the ethnic Albanians who died were killed after the KLA had withdrawn as the police moved into the villages.[5]

Events[edit]

Likošane[edit]

Likošane killings
Date 28 February-1 March 1998
3:30 PM–? (CET)
Target Kosovo Albanians
Deaths 14

The police arrived at Likošane between 11:30 AM and 12 PM, with a hovering police helicopter and many APCs and armed special police surrounding the house of the Ahmeti family.[6] The family was the richest one in the village.[6] Villagers told HRW that there were no KLA present, though it is possible that shots were fired at the police.[6]

In a quick and well-organized manner, suggesting that the attack was planned,[4] the special police focused on two neighbouring households, of the Gjeli and Ahmeti families.[6] There are speculations over whether a KLA members entered and left the Ahmeti house.[6] At ca. 3:30 PM, the police broke into the Ahmeti compound.[6] Ten male members of the family, and a guest, aged between 16 and 50, were beaten and then extrajudicially executed.[6]

The only Ahmeti brother to survive was away at the time, returning to Likošane after hearing of the incident; according to him, as told to HRW, when he arrived at 8 AM on 1 March, looking from a hill, he saw "an APC in our compound and another outside. A third was behind. There was artillery all over and the police were shooting everywhere".[7] According to him the police left 3:30 PM, he then went to his house and was told that ten male family members and a guest had been taken into custody.[7] He also told HRW that furniture had been destroyed and valuables stolen.[7]

The Ahmeti family learnt of the death of their men the next day, when a neighbour, of the Gjeli family, saw their bodies at the morgue while collecting the bodies of his two killed family members.[7] On 3 March the bodies were buried, along with 15 other victims from Likošane and Ćirez.[7] An American journalist told HRW that the Ahmeti bodies had clear signs of torture.[7]

Ćirez[edit]

Ćirez killings
Date 28 February-1 March 1998 (CET)
Target Kosovo Albanians

Nataša Kandić's accusations[edit]

Nataša Kandić of Belgrade's Humanitarian Law Center, accused Danica Marinković, formerly investigating judge of the Priština District Court, for the murders of the Ahmeti family.[8] Kandić stated that some former Serbian policemen witnessed that "Danica Marinković personally ordered several wounded members of the Ahmeti family to be shot on 28 February 1998 in the village of Likošane".[8] According to the allegations, Marinković came, as an investigating judge, to conduct an on-site investigation. There was a pile of bodies outside the Ahmeti house in which some men were still giving signs of life. In the presence of about 30 members of the Special Anti-Terrorism Unit of Yugoslavia, she allegedly said: "I'm not taking them - kill them" and the men were executed with a Heckler weapon.[8] In response, Marinković accused Kandić of lying.[8]

Aftermath[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]