Serbia returns remains of 22 ethnic Albanian war victims to Kosovo, their motherland

The remains of 22 ethnic Albanian war victims were returned to Kosovo from Serbia on Wednesday, officials said. The bodies are believed to be those of ethnic Albanian civilians killed by Serb forces during the 1998-1999 war and removed from Kosovo in an apparent cover-up attempt by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

The remains were handed over to U.N. authorities in the border area of Merdare, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the provincial capital, Pristina, authorities said.

Officials initially reported that 24 bodies had been returned. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

Out of some 836 bodies of Kosovo Albanians found in mass graves in Serbia, nearly 650 have been returned to their families. Families of the missing have repeatedly demanded that all the war dead exhumed be returned immediately.

The fate of the missing remains one of the most sensitive and emotionally charged issues between the two former foes. There are some 2,557 people still unaccounted for from the Kosovo conflict, according to the AP.

The two sides have been seeking solutions in several meetings since earlier this year when Serbian and Kosovo officials resumed talks aimed at establishing the whereabouts of ethnic Albanians, Serbs and others who vanished during the war.

Photo by BBC.


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