War in the Balkans: Massacre - Waking to a nightmare of slaughter

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The Independent Online
THE SCENE of charred bodies, clothes and the odd shoe strewn around Korisa in what ought to be a bucolic setting recalled the disaster of 14 April when Nato jets rocketed a column of refugees on a country road near Prizren.

Survivors said hundreds of refugees had just emerged after days hiding from the Serbs in nearby woods, to spend the night on their tractor-trailers clustered between a road and the village. In the middle of the night their encampment was attacked - apparently by Nato.

"We decided to spend the night here. Some time around midnight, they bombed us from their warplanes three times. It was a horror," said Dostan Rexhaj, 49, from Lodje Zekaj, part of Korisa village.

"Many people burnt up instantly. When news that they bombed us got through, police rounded up the wounded and took them to Prizren hospital," he said. "We still can't collect all the bodies. They are all around the place - in the fields and nearby farms. They have been blown to pieces. I am convinced that more than 150 have been killed."

Nine bodies, smoke still rising from some, lay at the scene when reporters arrived. Naturally, the Serb authorities lifted the usual restrictions on foreign media observing events in Kosovo for what seems to be Nato's latest and most devastating attack on civilians. More than 48 bodies were laid out for the cameras in the hospital morgue in nearby Prizren.

A woman in a headscarf shouted in Albanian at reporters, "You are not my people ... Kill us all. I will not talk. They killed my family."

Mr Rexhaj's son-in-law, Hasan Ahmetaj, thought there had been six missiles and that hundreds had been killed. "Many of the children burnt in the flames. I don't know what happened to my two sons and their families." he said. "I have been left alone like a mountain eagle to spend my remaining days here," he said.

Women, children and a few old men found shelter in the basement of a house not far from the scene of the attack. Spresa Rexhaj, 21, said her husband and her seven-month-old baby had been killed.

"I've been left alone as the bombs also killed my brothers and their families, as well as my father," she said.

In Prizren hospital, a doctor said those in the morgue had died on arrival. "All the 61 still wounded have sustained so-called explosive wounds, limb and spinal fractures as well as second and third degree burns. More than 20 patients have undergone surgery, of whom seven had limbs amputated."