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 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
China's 'Inconvenient Truth': video exposing country’s smog crisis watched 100 million times
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...