April 3, 1999
ALBANIAN-YUGOSLAV BORDER (CNN) -- As refugees from Kosovo poured into neighboring countries Saturday, they brought new accounts of alleged barbaric acts committed by Serb forces against civilian ethnic Albanians.
Their accounts cannot be verified independently because Yugoslavia has barred international journalists from Kosovo.
NATO officials said Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has "engineered a calculated humanitarian catastrophe."
Mehmet Krasniqi, his blistered hands bandaged, his face covered with burns, said he survived a mass killing after Serb tanks took over his village, Mala Krusa.
"They rounded up all the villagers. Then they separated men from women. To the women they said, 'You may go the border,'" he said.
"But they put us men in two big rooms and started to shoot us. They said, 'Now NATO can save you,'" he said.
He said Serb soldiers covered the bodies with straw and set them on fire. He said he survived by "playing dead." He escaped after Serbs left to find more fuel to burn the bodies.
Refugee Selim Popaj said Serb special police forces killed 72 people in his village on March 25, including five of his teen-age and adult sons.
He told CNN that Yugoslav troops surrounded his village with tanks. As the villagers tried to escape, the troops caught 200 people, separated 46 men from that group and killed them, he said. Popaj said they let him go because he is old.
Although these reports cannot be confirmed, other refugees have told CNN similar stories.
Jelaidim Sefulahu said he was cowering in the basement when Serb forces found him.
"They collected all the people. They separated the women from the men. They told the women to leave. They put the men against the wall. They killed the men. I don't know what else to say," he said. "My brother was killed. Three of my cousins and the son of one of them were killed too."
A video given to the British Broadcasting Corporation Saturday showed what the cameraman called evidence of a mass killing by Serb forces. The footage records what looks like a mass grave filled with men of fighting age who suffered bullet wounds.
"They all appeared to have been shot at close range. Most of the video is unsuited for broadcast," said BBC correspondent Clarence Mitchell.
"One man has a bullet wound in his forehead. Another has been clearly shot behind his back ... it is gruesome to the extreme," Mitchell said.
"We knew fully well that there was a campaign of ethnic cleansing," NATO spokesman James Shea said.
But he said none realized the scale of the atrocities. "Nobody could have guessed that it would reach such proportions."
CNN International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour contributed to this report.
Pentagon not reassured by Yugoslavs on captured troops
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
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