Police warn of 'enclavization and mafia rule' after Kosovo violence

PRISTINA, Jul 31, 2000 -- (AFP) Four Kosovo Serbian homes were attacked by extremists in one night, a UN spokesman said Sunday, as a senior policeman warned the province faced "enclavization" and Mafia rule.

Gary Carrell, regional commander of the international UN police force in Gnjilane, southwestern Kosovo, said that following attacks on minorities, "Albanians have lost their right not to have 'enclavization'. They have had their chance."

On Saturday a Serb house in the mixed town of Kosovo Polje near Pristina was attacked with a Molotov cocktail, Serb houses in nearby Obilic and Gnjilane in the southwest were hit by hand grenades and in Orahovac in the southwest another was burned to the ground, the spokesman said.

The attacks, which caused no injuries, are apparently the latest in a series of ethnically motivated crimes directed against minority groups in the province.

Previous attacks have been found to be the work of ethnic Albanian extremists.

Many of the 100,000 Serbs still living in Kosovo, around a third of those who lived there before the province's 1998-1999 civil war, now live in enclaves guarded by soldiers of the KFOR multinational peacekeeping force.

The ethnic separation has led to accusations from ethnic Albanian politicians that the international community is overseeing the canonization of the province.

Carrell said his officers were trying their best to protect minorities from crime and allow normal life to continue, but their efforts were being frustrated by the refusal of local people to cooperate.

"It's getting harder and harder to maintain the morale of my force," he told AFP.

"The most frustrating thing is that the general population does not seem ready or willing to participate in democracy. If they don't understand that they need to help then there can't be a democracy," he said.

Carrell compared the situation before the arrival of Kosovo's UN administration last year, when a huge Yugoslav security presence used often brutal means to control crime and unrest, with his own limited resources and powers, under which he had to rely on witnesses coming forward.

"They are not willing to play their part if they see a serious crime," he said.

If the population were not prepared to assist a democratic police force then the end result could only be a return to totalitarian government or the triumph of organized crime, he warned.

"The worst case is that the Mafia could control this place. That's the bottom line," he said.

Original article