Liberation of Kosovo: Hospital stand-off - Ousted doctors return

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The Independent Online
A REBELLION hit Pristina hospital yesterday, when dozens of Albanian doctors and nurses expelled by the Serbian authorities - some at gun- point - returned to demand justice and their jobs back.

British troops ensured no blows were exchanged but it was clear the two groups have different memories of the past few months and years - and even of the moment when Nato began its bombing campaign.

"On the night of 25 March the director-general of the hospital and the clinical director grabbed the doctors and nurses by their clothing and the scruffs of their necks, and pushed them out of the hospital," said Dr Zenel Kabashi. "Our own Serbian colleagues were armed with AK-47s ... and they told us that Albanians should all go home." Dr Muharrem Bajrami was also on that shift: "The Serb military ... told us to get out of the hospital and go home `Because you are Albanians'."

Under the Milosevic regime in Kosovo, Albanians were treated as second- class patients, often made to pay for treatment and, they say, mistreated by Serbian staff.

Now the Albanians want to return. Across the hospital lobby, the opposition sat watching proceedings. "It is difficult to say anything; we are confused and some people are upset - mostly Serbs, because we need protection," said Zoran Soskic, a Serbian surgical trainee who has worked here for five years since fleeing his home in Croatia. "I think it is very difficult to create an atmosphere of friendship after all these events, so we must find some other way to solve the problem. The other solution is to split the clinic," he continued. "Or to split Kosovo," added his colleague, with some venom.