Copyright 1982 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
November 9, 1982, Tuesday, Late City Final Edition
SECTION: Section A; Page 6, Column 3; Foreign Desk
LENGTH: 559 words
HEADLINE: YUGOSLAVS SEEK TO QUELL STRIFE IN REGION OF ETHNIC ALBANIANS
BYLINE: By DAVID BINDER, Special to the New York Times
DATELINE: PRISTINA, Yugoslavia
In Belgrade, three muscular men in black windbreakers boarded a night train to Kosovo, the southern province where
nearly all of Yugoslavia's more than 1.5 million ethnic Albanians live.
In a conversation with a visitor in the aisle, the three men said in Serbian that they were headed for the provincial capital,
Pristina, for a few days of what they called ''service work.''
On arrival near dawn, they were picked up by a van marked ''Militia.'' The three were plainclothesmen of the Yugoslav
Federal Security Service, apparently sent here to help prevent acts of violence by Albanian nationalists.
An official in Belgrade, 150 miles to the north, said that since the rioting in March 1981 when nine people were killed, the
Yugoslav Government had spent more than $30 million to maintain order in the Kosovo Autonomous Province, which
abuts Albania. The province, which is dominated by ethnic Albanians, contains only about 180,000 Slavs.
Both the Yugoslav Army and the militia maintain a large visible presence here. Yet acts of violence, mostly attacks on
Kosovo Serbs or their property, continue to be reported every week in the Belgrade press.
Non-Albanians Flee Area
A few days ago a newspaper reported that a young Albanian had splashed gasoline in the face of a 12-year-old Serbian
boy and ignited it with a match. The boy avoided serious injury by pulling his sweater over his head, extinguishing the
Such incidents have prompted many of Kosovo's Slavic inhabitants to flee the province, thereby helping to fulfill a
nationalist demand for an ethnically ''pure'' Albanian Kosovo. The latest Belgrade estimate is that 20,000 Serbs and
Montenegrins have left Kosovo for good since the 1981 riots.
The hatred that has developed between ethnic Albanians and the Slavic inhabitants is reflected in slogans painted
overnight on walls here.
In an interview, Ismaili Bajra, a husky 53-year-old ethnic Albanian who is a member of the province's Communist Party
presidium, spoke with pride of progress in the industrialization of the province, but he spoke scornfully of the Kosovo
nationalists as ''traitors.''
Terming the political situation good, he said it was getting ''more stable'' every day. ''Now the school year has begun,'' he
said, adding that, with ''500,000 youngsters enrolled,'' there have been ''no hostile actions, though of course you do find
slogans painted here and there.''
The ethnic turmoil in Kosovo has origins that go back more than five centuries when the Serbian nation developed in this
region and created a brief-lived empire that was ended by the Ottoman Turks in 1389. As the Turkish grip tightened,
Serb peasants gradually migrated northward, and Albanians moved in.
Tito Ruled With Strong Hand
After Serbia became independent again in the 19th century, Belgrade asserted dominance over the Albanians of Kosovo.
After Marshal Tito's Communists took power in the 1940's, Kosovo's Albanians were ruled with an iron hand by the
Serbian authorities of Belgrade for nearly 21 years. A minority in Serbia as a whole, the Albanians were already a
majority in Kosovo.