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Kosovo: tension eases

Briefing notes

Kosovo: tension eases

15 January 1999

Hundreds of residents began returning to their homes in the Podujevo area on Thursday (14 January), one day after the Kosovo Liberation Army freed eight captured soldiers, easing tension in the Serbian province. International monitors said there were indications that security forces mobilized to rescue the soldiers were pulling back. A UNHCR team on Thursday saw tractor-trailers carrying mostly women and children back to Bradash and Dobratin, near Podujevo. Residents said since early morning there had been a steady stream of returnees at Bradash, which has a population of 2,500.

However, in the Lapastica area, scene of heavy fighting last month, no returns were reported. At nearby Perane, aid workers and OSCE sources said two Albanian families were trapped in their homes by Serbian forces and were requesting food. The families were being helped by Serbian residents who had remained. Serbs number about a third of Perane's 800 population.