War In The Balkans: Villagers saw more than 100 men shot
Wednesday 05 May 1999
Tears flowed freely as children, wives and sisters described the murders of their menfolk by Serbian soldiers. "They wore masks and they killed my brother right in front of me," said 22-year-old Nerxhivana Gerxhaliu. "It is not a long story. They began beating men and shooting others. They formed no lines, they just pulled them out of the tractors and killed them."
More than 100 men are reported to have been dragged from the refugee convoy and shot dead by the roadside between the villages of Upper and Lower Studime, close to the town of Vucitrn in Kosovo. The survivors say the convoy, a couple of thousand people forced from their homes in the villages, was surrounded on Sunday night.
"They killed my husband before my eyes," Sebaate Gerxhaliu said, blank with grief as she sat in a tractor trailer clutching her youngest son. "At first they beat the men with rifle butts, then they killed them. All through the journey I closed my eyes because I did not want to remember the scene." Ten men were taken from Mrs Gerxhaliu's tractor alone, eight of them relatives.
"I managed to touch my son once, to lay my hand on his wound, and my hand came up covered with blood," said another women, Merita, who did not want to be identified further because she must break the news to other children living abroad. "They would not even let us take the bodies. We don't know if anyone bothered to make a grave for them."
Another woman, Lulietta Gerxhaliu, also witnessed the horrific scenes. "We saw many people being killed in front of us - 20 to 30 - and we saw more than 100 bodies," she said.
"They pulled the men from the tractors, asked for DM2,000 [pounds 700] and said that anyone who could not pay would be killed." But even that was not to save Merita's son, as she testified in an entirely separate interview. "I gave them DM2,000 but they still killed him."
Once the killing was done, the troops ordered the villagers to drive to Vucitrn and even then they were screaming and shooting in the air to terrify the survivors, who spent the night corralled at a farm, guarded by armed men and denied food and water. The next morning the Serbs came for the surviving men, removing dozens, perhaps hundreds of men aged 22 to 55 in trucks and then returning, trucks empty, for more. Eventually they ordered the convoy to leave at once for Albania. "We know at least 200 are gone - we are certain of this because we know them all," said Nerxhivana Gerxhaliu, who was riding in a different tractor. It was not a long story - but it was typical of President Slobodan Milosevic's blood feud against Kosovo.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...