by Andrija IGIC, Beta
In the late morning Obilic is full of Albanian youth. The Serbs live in the places where there is no one in the streets. That's the first sign of recognition. The yard of the murdered Stolics is marked with yellow tape and a no trespassing sign. In the neighboring Serb yard with its obviously looted house, an Albanian man is grazing his cow and breaking high branches with ripe cherries off a cherry tree. The policeman, a foreigner, who finds himself at the scene does not react. The remaining Serbs in Obilic say that these are everyday spectacles in abandoned Serb houses. Although no progress has yet been made, the police is not giving up on the investigation. A special team of international policemen headed by a man personally selected by UNMIK chief Michael Steiner has questioned dozens of families so far in the hope of learning more about the murderers and the motives behind the murders.
UNMIK police are considering two possible scenarios. In both cases, the house and property are factors. The first possible motive is that the Stolics allegedly resisted pressures to sell their house and property, one of the most attractive in Obilic. The Stolic property is located next to the main road in the small town, some nine kilometers from Pristina. The second motive in the Stolic murder, according to UNMIK police, was their plan to sell the house after all, a plan to which Serbs nearby were strongly opposed.
At UNMIK police headquarters they believe that the Serb neighbors kept their windows open all night because of the heat and that it is impossible that they did not hear what was going on in their neighbors house. "Unfortunately, we have to lock everything up at dusk. We close and lock both windows and doors out of fear that the Albanians will throw in a hand grenade or enter our houses. Those who live in greatest fear of attacks have installed metal bars on their windows," the remaining Serbs in Obilic told "Beta", claiming that it is pointless to speculate who could have killed their neighbors. "Who could have possibly killed them except the Albanians?" is the unanimous consensus among the Serbs in Cerska Street.
The remaining Serb men in Obilic are reluctant to give their names. "We cannot introduce ourselves. If you insist, write that we are last remaining wretches, abandoned by our country, forgotten by the international authorities and targeted by the Albanians. We are like game to be hunted. We are not even safe in our houses and yards and if we dare to go out into the street, there is no guarantee we will return alive. This is our life and the life of our children in Obilic." One of the remaining Serbs in Obilic says that he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and that it is pathetic that the Belgrade authorities remembered them only after the Stolics were murdered. "They came two days after the murders, offering more help to induce us to stay. As if assistance can make up for the fact that we are absolutely unsafe here. KFOR and UNMIK claim they have stepped up their patrols in the part of Obilic inhabited by Serbs. Why don't you stay tonight and see for yourself if they are here or not? As soon as the light begins to fade the Albanians make our lives impossible. They honk their horns when they pass by us; they motion with their fingers that they will slit our throats; they call us nasty names. Every day is the same. It's a wonder that we have not lost our minds."
Immediately after the murder of the Stolics the remaining Serbs in Obilic had announced that they were collectively leaving; however, they decided to give another opportunity to the international security forces in Kosovo to try to protect them. "We will wait until the fall or next spring at the latest. We have nowhere to go except to the collective [refugee] centers." Prior to 1999 12,000 Serbs lived in the municipality of Obilic, some 5,000 of them in the town itself. Now there are 400 in town and about 3,000 in the surrounding villages of Plemetina, Babin Most, Vodica and Janjina Voda.