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Kosovo crisis latest

Briefing notes

Kosovo crisis latest

7 May 1999

No refugees have crossed the Macedonian border since the Interior Minister last night assured UNHCR that the border will remain open to refugees. It is not clear whether the refugees are being held up by the Serb side or the Macedonian side. Some refugees on their way to Macedonia were reportedly re-routed to Albania by the Serbs. A total of 609 people crossed the border at Morini in northern Albania Thursday and early Friday.

People crossing Thursday came from several areas including Djakova and Prizren. The small group from Prizren were mainly individual, educated men who were picked up from their workplace and taken immediately to the border and expelled. This trend of stripping the town of its educated elite has been underway for at least one week and forms a definite pattern.

A group of around 360 people crossed the border after midnight. They had all come from villages around Pristina and Mitrovica. They had originally been sent by train toward Macedonia where they were told by the Serbian authorities that the frontier was closed. They then returned to Pristina where they boarded six buses - at a cost of 100 dm each and sent to the border area and walked over. They told the normal tales - some men were beaten up, women were robbed of their jewellery. the Serbs on occasion tried to separate the women out, but there were no actual instances of this.

A total of 4,886 people left Kukes Thursday on a series of buses and trucks, maintaining a relatively good rate of departure.