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Kosovo: arrivals from Serbia decrease

Briefing notes

Kosovo: arrivals from Serbia decrease

30 November 2000

There has been a sharp decrease in the number of people leaving southern Serbia for Kosovo. UNHCR estimates that a mere 200 persons entered Kosovo on Thursday. The estimated total since 20 November is 4,600. Some of those who arrived Thursday said there was military build up around their villages. They said on the way to Gnjilane they were stopped and searched by Serb Special Police Units in Lucane where they were asked about alleged rebel activity. Since Thursday, KFOR has not been allowing men of military age to cross the border at this crossing. Four individuals from Bujanovac and Turija in the Bujanovac area crossed today to Kosovo on foot. All of those crossing from the Bujanovac area indicated that they were departing because of a massive military build-up.

A UNHCR team interviewed several people from Veliki Trnovac / Trnovc i Madh who indicated that the situation in the village remains extremely tense but calm.

The UNHCR field team interviewed some of the persons crossing the border: they were visitors coming from the village of Koncul and they were heading to their relatives in the Gnjilane region. According to them, the situation in Koncul is quiet with no reports of military activity. Reportedly, all of the young population and children have departed from Koncul. Those interviewed said they were concerned about the situation in Lucane village, as they were unable to have any contact with the village.

According to persons from Koncul, the stock of essential food in Koncul has significantly decreased. They were concerned about their access to food - they can no longer access markets in Bujanovac and they have to rely on their contact with Kosovo, which has become difficult due to the restriction of movement.