August 7, 2012

The Countdown

Early in the morning on May 14, 1999, a large force of Serbian paramilitaries, soldiers, and special police appeared in Qyshk, a farming village in western Kosovo. The Serbs had come to Qyshk before, searching for weapons and valuables, but this time they herded the residents, all ethnic Albanians, toward the center of the village. They said that they were looking for Hasan Ceku, the father of General Agim Ceku, the chief of staff of the Kosovo Liberation Army. This was at the height of the war between the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s forces and the K.L.A., and seven weeks after NATO had entered the conflict, bombing Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia in an attempt to halt Milosevic’s brutal campaign against Kosovo’s Albanian majority. Hasan Ceku, who was sixty-nine years old, came forward, according to an eyewitness. To prove who he was, he produced a picture of his son Agim. “They shot Hasan right there, and set him on fire,” another witness said. The Serbs also killed Agim’s uncle Kadri Ceku.

Early in the morning on May 14, 1999, a large force of Serbian paramilitaries, soldiers, and special police appeared in Qyshk, a farming village in western Kosovo. The Serbs had come to Qyshk before, searching for weapons and valuables, but this time they herded the residents, all ethnic Albanians, toward the center of the village. They said that they were looking for Hasan Ceku, the father of General Agim Ceku, the chief of staff of the Kosovo Liberation Army. This was at the height of the war between the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s forces and the K.L.A., and seven weeks after NATO had entered the conflict, bombing Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia in an attempt to halt Milosevic’s brutal campaign against Kosovo’s Albanian majority. Hasan Ceku, who was sixty-nine years old, came forward, according to an eyewitness. To prove who he was, he produced a picture of his son Agim. “They shot Hasan right there, and set him on fire,” another witness said. The Serbs also killed Agim’s uncle Kadri Ceku.


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