Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Kosovo: situation on the ground calm but tense

Briefing notes

Kosovo: situation on the ground calm but tense

9 February 1999

As Kosovo peace talks at Rambouillet continue, the situation on the ground remains relatively calm but tense with fear and occasional gunfire preventing people from going back to their homes.

Firing by security forces at Kisela Banja, west of Pristina, over the weekend forced about a dozen villagers to flee their homes, a visiting UNHCR team was told on Monday.

Last week, UNHCR saw 25 people at the village 20 kilometres north of Pristina. Mostly old men, they were all that remained of the 500 Kisela Banja residents after government troops went on the offensive in the Podujevo region two weeks ago.

But on Monday, a UNHCR team delivering bread and canned food to the remaining villagers found only 14 people remaining there. They said the others had left, afraid of the continued shootings. The remaining men said they were staying together during the night in one house because shelling and firing occur at that time. In a cluster of three houses, UNHCR saw damage caused by anti-aircraft bullets, several of which lay on the ground.

The team attempted to go farther west into the interior but was blocked by barricades at an army position atop a hill.

As of Monday, there were still no significant returns to Racak in Stimlje, where 45 people were found massacred during a government offensive last month. On Monday, UNHCR delivered bread and canned food at Racak for eight old men - the only people who remained there. UNHCR was told that one of the men had gone to Stimlje with a group of reporters to buy bread but has not returned. UNHCR is asking KVM to locate him.