HeadLine: SERB FORCES MURDERD CIVILIANS IN CONVOY, claims US
Daily Record, 15/04/1999, p2.
by Shaun Milne
SERB forces escorting a convoy of Kosovo refugees may have attacked and killed some of the civilians after military vehicles in the convoy were hit by the NATO airstrikes, US military officials said.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said the incident happened east of Djakovica, the same area in which the Serbs reported that NATO bombs had struck the refugee convoy.
Mr Bacon said NATO were still investigating but there was no indication that NATO planes hit the civilians.
He said US Army General Wesley Clark, the top NATO commander, told him he had received “verbal reports of the possibility” that after military vehicles in
the convoy were hit, “military people got out and began to attack civilians in the middle of the convoy”.
Mr Bacon said Clark told him there might be reconnaissance imagery available to show what transpired.
He said: “We don’t know what the full facts are.
“We are quite sure we hit only military vehicles. We will obviously review what happened.”
Mr Bacon also said UN relief workers had reported that refugees entering Albania had claimed refugee convoys were being attacked by Yugoslav planes and helicopters.
He described these as “preliminary reports that may or may not be correct”.
Meanwhile, President Bill Clinton is expected to call up thousands of military reserves to support a major buildup of NATO air power as strikes against
Yugoslavia target more Serb troops hunkered down in Kosovo.
Mr Bacon said yesterday that “several thousand” reservists would probably be ordered to active duty.
The Clinton administration will also seek emergency money from Congress for the NATO operation.
Mr Clinton said: “We are taking our allied air campaign to the next level.”
The Pentagon is preparing to add 300 warplanes to NATO’s air forces at the request of General Clark. Now, nearly 500 US aircraft and 200 allied planes are involved.