Liberation Of Kosovo: Looting: Nato watches Kosovars strip village clean
Monday 21 June 1999
Serbs in the village of Grece, 10 miles north of the Kosovo capital Pristina, had apparently been warned on Saturday night by returning Albanians that they should leave immediately. Early yesterday morningdozens of tractors and trailers arrived in the tiny village and the Albanians set about taking anything they could find.
As well as the obvious items such as televisions and washing machines, the Albanians loaded their vehicles with bricks, roof tiles, bags of cement and sacks of animal feed. The looters even ripped out door frames and doors - anything they could use to rebuild their own ravaged homes and farms. As soon as they had emptied each house of everything they wanted, they set it alight.
A group of French troops in armoured vehicles sat and watched. At one point they even helped the looters - assisting them to back out the tractors piled high with booty to allow the next ones in. When asked why they were doing nothing, the soldiers said it was not their problem: this was a British-controlled sector.
The British were no better. At the end of a track a few hundred yards from the village, soldiers - again in armoured vehicles - sat smoking cigarettes as the morning air turned acrid with smoke. Their excuse was equally poor - "We can do nothing - this is the French-controlled zone," said one. When it was pointed out that this was not true the soldiers claimed that with their "available resources" they could do little.
Yesterday evening Grece was still smouldering, pigs were running loose in the carefully tended vegetable gardens and clothes and food packets were strewn around the courtyards.
A Nato spokesman in Pristina said yesterday evening that the British commander on the ground had taken the decision not to intervene to stop the looting in order to avoid the threat to "life and limb".
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...