Atrocity witness joins father :WAR IN THE BALKANS

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The Independent Online
A KOSOVO boy who watched as Serbs killed 19 of his relatives, including his mother and three sisters, has been re-united with his missing father. Dren Caka, 11, was also shot during the massacre at Djakovica on 3 April, but escaped by pretending to be dead and hiding in a smoke- filled room.

His father, Ealem Caka, who was away from the family home at the time, believed Dren was dead when he returned and found only the burned remains of his family. Distraught, he was helped across the mountainous border between Kosovo and Albania by fellow refugees.

Four days ago, however, he was at a transit camp outside the Albanian capital, Tirana, when friends said they had heard his son's name on a contact radio station. The boy was being treated at The Central Military Hospital in Tirana and was making a good recovery.

"Mr Caka was overwhelmed when he found Dren," said Lieutenant Colonel Nuredin Malaj, the doctor who has been treating him told The Independent. "It was a very emotional reunion."

Dren told his story as he was helped across the border at Morini last week. Four ethnic Albanian families were sheltering in his house on Milos Gilic Street, when Serb neighbours burst their way in and accused them of harbouring men from the Kosovo Liberation Army. When they denied it, the women and children were shot.

"They shot me and I fell down and pretended to be dead," said Dren. "And when they weren't looking, I ran into the next room. It was full of smoke and I waited until they had gone, then escaped through a window."

Yesterday, Dren's arm was still in a sling and he appeared fit, healthy and in good spirits. He was wearing a Snoopy sweatshirt and a baseball cap, and he smiled broadly.

Doctor Malaj said he was making a good recovery mentally as well as physically. "He is a very clever boy and he has done a lot of talking. I think he will make a full recovery," the doctor said.

However Mr Caka is still deeply traumatised by the loss of his family. Yesterday he told a former neighbour that he had had an offer of work from Germany, and that he plans to leave immediately. "He said he has no family in Kosovo, no house, and no future there," said the neighbour. "Why would he want to go back?"