© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

January 2000
According to the peace agreement ending the war, Kosovars were to have unrestricted travel within the province and all refugees—Albanian, Serb, or Roma—could return to their homes. This was never implemented in the northern city of Mitrovica, which has become the Belfast of Kosovo. The Serbs held onto north Mitrovica at the end of the war, and as more and more Serbs became victims of Albanian retribution, their arguments for the need of a Serb enclave became stronger. While Serbs throughout Kosovo were soon forced to live in protected areas, Serb hardliners in Mitrovica—with the support of Milosevic—drove most of the remaining Kosovar Albanians out of north Mitrovica.

French KFOR troops monitor the bridge over the Ibar River and the nearby “confidence zone” but are helpless to resolve the ethnic divide. Milosevic’s thugs monitor the bridge from the Dolce Vita Café and conspicuously talk into illegal walkie talkies. The local media refers to them as “bridge watchers.”

The Kosovar Albanian family pictured here finally left north Mitrovica after being threatened and beaten one time too many. They were now living in a one room apartment provided by the Adventist Development and Reconstruction Agency (ADRA). The man was formerly a meturlagist for the Trepca mines, but like most Kosovar Albanians, was fired from his job in 1990 as Milosevic took control of the province. Prior to that, he claimed to have good relations with his Serb neighbors and co-workers. His parting words to us were “God and the United States saved the Albanians.”




Above: Kosovar Albanian family driven out of north Mitrovica and now living in a one room apartment in the south.
1) Young Serb girl in north Mitrovica with hope for a
better future.
2) The infamous bridge over the Ibar River in Mitrovica, dividing north from south, and scene of numerous violent protests on both sides.