Headline: KOSOVO’S SCHOOLS MINED BY SERB SOLDIERS.
Daily Record, 19/04/1999, p7
by Shaun Milne
SERB troops are planting thousands of landmines under the schools, houses and fields of Kosovo.
Refugees who have fled the town of Ferizaj, 25 miles from the capital Pristina, reported that soldiers have placed the bombs at the local school.
One 23-year-old woman said: “I saw them planting mines in the school and in the houses.”
The bombs cause horrific injuries to civilians.
By laying them, the Serb forces are flouting the Ottawa Treaty signed this year by 134 states – including Yugoslavia.
The signatories agreed to ban the use, production, trade and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines.
But Yugoslavia is currently one of the largest manufacturers of the devices.
Doctors in Macedonia and Albania are already treating victims, including children, of mine explosions in Kosovo
The Serbs are also placing anti-personnel and anti-tank mines along Kosovo’s borders with Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia in preparation for a ground war, according to NATO sources.
Christopher Ross, of Jane’s Defence Weekly, said: “The reason international law bans these weapons is because they deliberately pick out civilians.
“Soldiers are much less likely to be harmed as they are more aware of how they work and what they can do.”
He added: “Any mine can go off indefinitely. If it is in the ground it is still a danger.
“One of the key laws is that when you put down a mine you should have a minefield map.
“But when they are laid by irregular forces such as you get in Serbia, there is no telling where the mines are.
“Many of the mines will have been dropped by helicopter, so no one can be sure where they are.”
Paul Jefferson, a landmines expert, added: “The landmine problem is about clearing them in the ground and that can take a long time.
“We would need troops on the ground for such an endeavour. It could take many years to eradicate them.
“The longer the Serbs have, the better they can conceal these weapons.”