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Gnjilane Group (Template:Lang-sr) is the name of a subgroup part of the Kosovo Albanian UÇK (Kosovo Liberation Army). During the Kosovo War, the Gnjilane Group were accused of being the perpetrators of more than 153 physical abuses, 159 kidnappings (34 people still missing - fate unknown) and at least 80 murders of civilian Serbs between June-October 1999 in the town of Gnjilane, Kosovo after the international forces of NATO troops and KFOR arrived[1]. The killings are noted for their notoriety and inhumanity.[2]

The group consisted of ethnic Albanians from Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa, home to Albanians of southern Serbia, bordering Kosovo, and Albanians of western Republic of Macedonia. They were a special group of KLA tasked with the ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs of Gnjilane.

Crime

The group kidnapped, raped and murdered Serbs at three known locations in Gnjilane in 1999. Many of the victims were killed in a boarding school in Gnjilane. They were first kidnapped, taken to the school and stripped naked, tied up, humiliated, severely tortured and stabbed with knives (genitals were cut off, castration), strangled with plastic bags and wires, bashed with metal bats, finger-nails and teeth pulled out, raped and murdered. Some of the victims were killed by gruesome experiments of how many bodies a bullet could pass and kill, the dismembering of an old woman tied to two cars driving opposite ways. All bodies were dismembered and hid/threwn in different locations (in lakes or thrash cans), however parts were cut off prior to the death as well (while alive). All found bodies show the victims dying from extreme torture.[3]

The victims included children (and babies[4]), pregnants[5] and old and weak people.[6]

Arrest

On 26 December 2008, 10 KLA members were arrested by Serbian Gendarmery as crime suspects during a raid on 17 facilities in Preševo after months of planning by the War Crime Prosecution and Serbian Security and Intelligency.[citation needed] A total of 17 individuals known by name are undergoing trial.[citation needed]

Apart from murder, the indicted persons were charged with other criminal acts, such as rape, imprisonment, mutilation, torture and robbery, committed with the aim of cleansing Serbian and non-ethnic Albanian population from the Gnjilane municipality, ultimately Kosovo.[7][Full citation needed]

The trial started on 23 September 2009.[citation needed]

The leaders, Fazlia Aydari, Rexhep Aliji and Shaqip Shaqiri are still at large, living in Kosovo.[citation needed]

References

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