Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Kosovo: tensions high in Pristina

Briefing notes

Kosovo: tensions high in Pristina

23 March 1999

Tension has risen sharply in Kosovo's main city Pristina, swollen with thousands of fresh internal refugees. UNHCR staff say the city, usually abuzz with activity in the evening, looked like a "ghost town" at nightfall Monday with heavy police presence on the streets, following the killing of four policemen there on Sunday night and a number of subsequent bomb blasts.

We estimate that over the weekend, 25,000 people fled their homes, mostly in the Srbica area in the space of just 48 hours, marking one of the largest single waves of displacement since the conflict began.

UNHCR staff find it increasingly difficult to access certain areas in Kosovo because of the scope of the military operations. We were unable Monday to enter the town of Srbica which our staff had visited on Sunday and found two-thirds empty. Gunfire and shelling could be heard yesterday in villages in Vucitrn, Srbica, and Glogovac in the Drenica area and in Podujevo along the Pristina-Belgrade road.