RECOM Reconciliation Network


Deaths and disappearances in Srbica/Skënderaj on the day of departure of the OSCE KVM, 20 March 1999


According to the orders of the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija, dated 19 March 1999, units of the 125th Motorised Brigade of the VJ, one PJP company from Užice, and units of the 37th Motorised Brigade of the VJ, were present in the Poljance/Polac–Srbica/Skënderaj region, tasked with “blocking the Klina–Srbica direction and the town of Srbica”. The command post was located in the area of the ammunition factory in Srbica/Skënderaj. 


The members of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) left Srbica/Skënderaj on 19 March 1999. The entire KVM (1,381 members) left Kosovo on 20 March 1999. On the morning of 20 March 1999, soldiers wearing camouflaged green and brown uniforms arrived in front of the police station in Srbica/Skënderaj. The group left in the direction of the Naselje 3 neighbourhood. Around 07:00h, the residents of Srbica/Skënderaj heard gunfire from the surrounding hills and from the direction of the ammunition factory. Around 08:00h, police officers in white uniforms, black boots and blacks masks appeared in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood. Around 08:30 they started entering houses. 


1. Deaths of eight people in four houses


Nebih (Hazir/Hyla) Vojvoda (48) 

Lavdim (Sali/Nuri) Vojvoda (20) 

Sadri (Zenel/Fahrije) Gashi (45) 

Januz (Halit/Mihane) Kalleci (61)  

Xhavit (Januz/Mehreme) Kalleci (28) 

Musli (Dibran/Zelfije) Shala (29) 

Sabit (Beke/Hamide) Veliqi (39)  

Ramiz (Rexhep/Emine) Geci (31) 


On the morning of 20 March 1999, police officers wearing white uniforms and masks entered houses in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood and removed the men. They took eight men from four houses on Adem Shala Street. From Hilmi Taçi’s old house they first removed Nebih Vojvoda and Lavdim Vojvoda, who had fled from Lauša/Laushё with their families a few days earlier, and Sadri Gashi, who had fled from Trstenik/Terstenik. They held them in front of house, while two police officers kicked down the gate leading to the neighbouring house, belonging to Januz Kalleci, entered the house, brought Januz out, and then one of them went back inside and returned with Januz’s son, Xhavit Kalleci. Around 08:30h, police officers in white uniforms entered Dibran Shala’s house. They kicked in the gate. They first entered the ground floor apartment, where the Mangjolli family was staying, and then went up to the apartment where Dibran was located, with his son Musli Shala and son-in-law Sabit Veliqi. They first made the men strip down to the waist, asked them where they were from and what they were doing. One of the police officers shouted “These guys killed my brother”. Dibran recognized the voice and blue eyes as belonging to Zoran Jovanović from the village of Kostrc/Kostërc, whose brother had been killed in 1998 by members of the KLA. He saw this police officer take Sabit and Musli out. Dibran begged the police officers to allow Musli and Sabit to put on jackets. One of them answered “They won’t be needing them”. Dibran saw them taken, together with the detained neighbours, in the direction of the place called Te Pishat (“at the pines”). A short while later he heard automatic gunfire. Ramiz Geci was at home with his wife, parents and four relatives, when police officers in white uniforms entered the house. They pointed to Ramiz. His parents begged them not to take their son, that he had not done anything. The police officers pushed them away with the butts of their rifles. Their neighbour Asllan Rreci saw them at the place called Te Pishat with police officers in white uniforms. The Serbian forces transferred their bodies to the morgue at the hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica/Mitrovicë, from where they Islamic Community collected them on 25 March 1999, and buried them at the cemetery in Šupkovac/Shupkofc. 


2. Deaths of six people in houses, at the transformer station, in the forest


Veli (Hasan/Slavka) Mustafa (34) 

Hajzer (Avdullah/Hasime) Musa (31) 

Xhavit (Rexhë/Elshame) Sylejmani (39) 

Milazim (Sadik/Mihane) Rexha (27) 

Ilaz (Osman/Afije) Aruqi (42) 

Hajdin (Maliq/Elfije) Aruqi (79) 


Six men, wearing white uniforms and masks, took Veli Mustafa from his parent’s house in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood. He and his father Hasan were the only men in the house. The uniformed men ordered everyone out into the yard. They detained Veli, and ordered Hasan, the women and children to go to Albania: “Shove off to Albania, where you belong. Kosovo is ours”. Gunfire could be heard as soon as Hasan, the women and children left the yard. Veli’s body, with visible gunshot wounds, was discovered in the family’s yard on 30 March 1999, by their neighbours Rexha Kuliqi, Sadik Kopiliqi, and Qemajl Zabeli.  


Hajzer Musa was taken from the home of his uncle Xhavit Geci, in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood, by police officers in white uniforms. His body was discovered two or three days later near the place called Te Pishat, by Abit Haziri, a member of the KLA, who buried him there. 


Xhavit Sylejmani had been staying in the Naselje 3 neighbourhood since November 1998, in a house belonging to his friend Zymer Imeri, who was working abroad. Two other families were staying there on the morning of 20 March 1999, when three men wearing white uniforms and masks, entered the house. They had on black gloves. The pants legs of one of them were stained by blood up to the knees. They took Xhavit to the yard and the sound of gunfire could be heard two minutes later. Then the police officers in white uniforms ordered everyone out. When Xhavit’s wife reached the village of Lauša/Laushё, she heard from her relative Mihrije that she had seen that Xhavit had been killed in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood, near the transformer station. Mihrije returned to Srbica/Skënderaj two days later and found her husband’s body near the transformer station. With the help of Jetish Behrami and Beqir Mulaj, she buried him two or three metres from the transformer station. 


When police officers in white uniforms entered the Naselje 2 neighbourhood, Milazim Rexha and his brothers Blerim and Naim, and their neighbours Sami and Ukë Loshi headed towards the Glavica forest, which was located above Smal Gjinovci’s house. Milazim was the first to enter the Glavica forest. According to his father Sadik, at that moment, Serbian forces, stationed at the ammunition factory in the Naselje 3 neighbourhood, were moving towards Glogovac/Gllogoc. Along the way they encountered KLA resistance and started firing mortars, which is when his son Milazim was killed. His body remained in the forest for three days, until Sadik found someone to help him retrieve his son’s body from the forest and bury him in the village of Donji Obilić/Kopiliq i Ulet. 


Ilaz Aruqi had a house near the police station. His parents, brothers, who had their own families, lived in the same house. Ilaz was visiting his neighbour, Sadik Uke, and his wife and children, parents and one brother were at home. Three men in white uniforms entered the house, wearing black boots and black fingerless gloves. They beat up Ilaz’s father in the house, and his brother in the yard. When the police officers in white uniforms left, Ilaz’s wife, children, parents and brother found Ilaz in the yard; he had been shot in the throat and head. They hid his body in some hay and buried him in the yard three days later. 


Hajdin Aruqi held a religious ceremony in Lauša/Laushё on Friday, 19 March 1999, with his assistant Murat Babaj. That evening he returned to Srbica/Skënderaj together with Murat. The following day, together with Murat and his family, he took shelter with Islam Konjuhe. Hajdin was in bed when hand grenades were tossed into the house. He was killed on the spot. Murat and his daughter were wounded. After the war, Hajdin’s mortal remains were discovered in the rubble of Islam’s house. 


3. Disappearance of detained persons and disappearance of the bodies of victims


Isuf (Feriz/Sala) Gashi (54) 

Burim (Isuf/Raza) Gashi (20) 

Qemajl (Xhafer/Remzije) Neziri (15) 

Idriz (Selman/Halime) Kameri (45)  

Sejdi (Zeqir/Emine) Zeqiri (40)  

Refki (Zeqir/Emine) Zeqiri (24)  

Agim (Imer/Ajshe) Berisha (28) 

Muhamet (Ferat/Raza) Zenuni (39) 

Xhevdet (Zenel/Rabishe) Zenuni (19) 

Gani (Azem/Halime) Azemi (48) 

Shaip (Gani/Sadije) Azemi (26)  

Faton (Gani/Sadije) Azemi (22)  

Emrullah (Sokol/Bahrije) Azemi (21)   

Halim (Qerim/Ajkune) Gucati (56) 

Muhamet (Sheqir/Naxhije) Fazliu (30) 

Musli (Zeqir/Ajmane) Fazliu (28) 


Police officers in white uniforms killed Isuf Gashi, his son Burim and relative Qemajl Neziri, in the yard of Isuf’s house, near the police station. The bodies were immediately transported by truck in an unknown direction. Isuf’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-800799-02, Burim’s under BLG-800799-01, and Qemajl’s under BLG-801893-01. 


Police officers in white uniforms killed Idriz Kameri in front of his wife, in the alley behind the house in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood. Idriz’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-804611-01. 


Police officers in white uniforms killed brothers Sejdi and Refki Zeqiri and their brother-in-law Agim Berisha in Abaz Kajtazi’s house in the Naselje 2 neighbourhood, where Sejdi and Refki lived as tenants. Traces of blood were discovered in the house after the war, but there were no bodies. Sejdi’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-801783-01, Refki’s under BLG-802859-01, and Agim’s under BLG-801902-01. 


Police officers in white uniforms detained Xhevdet Zenuni and Muhamet Zenuni in Muhamet’s house, and ordered their families to go towards Lauša/Lausa. Muhamet’s parent returned home two or three days later. They found traces of blood in the yard, near the stable, but there were no bodies. Muhamet’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-800959-01, and Xhevdet’s under BLG-801128-01. 


At Gani Azemi’s house, police officers in white uniforms detained Gani Azemi, his sons Shaip and Faton Azemi, relative Emrullah Azemi, and neighbour Halim Gucati, who had come to their house when he saw armed men in white uniforms enter the neighbourhood that morning. Before being kicked out together with her daughters-in-law and children, Gani’s wife saw her husband, their sons, and Halim being taken into a room. She returned two weeks later, found that the house had been torched, and in the room where her husband, sons and neighbour Halim had been taken she found traces of blood, but there were no bodies. Gani’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-802803-03, Shaip’s under BLG-802803-01, Faton’s under BLG-802803-02, Emrullah’s under BLG-803014-01, and Halim’s under BLG-802595-01. 


Muhamet Fazliu and his cousin Musli Fazliu were members of the KLA. On 19 March 1999 they came in Srbica/Skënderaj, to Xhavit Berisha’s house, where their families were staying. Around 10:00h on 20 March 1999, two men in white uniforms entered Xhavit’s yard. They expelled all the men from the building, which had previously housed the store, releasing the older men, and then they shot first Muhamet Fazliu and then Musli Fazliu, after which they left the yard. Musli’s sister Nexhde saw police officers in white uniforms drag the bodies to the street and throw them in a TAM lorry and drive away. Musliu’s disappearance is recorded on the ICRC’s list under BLG-803902-01, and Muhamet’s under BLG-803903-01.  


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