J. is an 18 year old KLA soldier
Why did you decide to fight with the soldiers of the KLA?
The reason why I joined the KLA was the terror that happened to my people from
the Serbs. Especially after the massacre in Prekaz, where people were massacred
so bad, women children and old people. I just felt that I had to do something
for my people.
Tell us about your life as a soldier.
My first battle was in L. We went all together, and we waited them [Serbs] to
Tell us how you fight, what weapons did you use?
Because I was young, they didn't want to let me fight, but I went by foot up in
the mountains, with my friend, who was killed. I was not afraid. We fired at
tanks that were coming to us.
Tell us about the conditions. Was it difficult?
We didn't have much food, the conditions were terrible but it was war. We were
prepared for it.
Tell us about your commandant.
He took care of us, he was always in
front of us. He didn't put us in risk, because we were so young and without
experience. The most difficult moment there was when [he] brought his daughter
after all his family was massacred and told us, "This is all what is left from
my family." We took care for her after that. She is so small. We looked then
for the bodies. We found them, it was terrible.
What was the most risky day for you?
It was in A. Some friends were killed there. Serbs were coming after us, fired
at us with snipers. We were only 20 meters away from them. When the night came
we saw the dead Serbs left there from our shots. We laughed then. Serbs came
from Belgrade and left their heads here. . . .
What did you do before you joined he army?
I was in high school. I had to stop it to join the army.
Can you tell us what you plan to do in the future now that the war is
I plan to continue my schooling, in military academy. I like to be soldier.
What did your parents tell you when you joined the army?
They were proud of me. I told them even if I die at least I die for the honor
of my country, for freedom.
What did you do when you heard the NATO bombs falling?
We were happy for that. We saw the tanks exploding. It was a good feeling. . .
What is your message for young people everywhere in the world?
I know that young people elsewhere do not have these problems, but I would tell
Albanian young people that when our country needs us we must be there, fighting
for its freedom.
You saw the houses burned from the hills. Did you think about your
From the first day we knew that everything else but fighting for freedom is
irrelevant. Every soldier knew that his family might be in danger. I felt
terrible when I saw houses being burned.
How did you feel when you knew that you might kill some one?
It was my aim to kill the enemy and it is a beautiful feeling.
Do you want to tell us something that we didn't ask about?
Yes. We were in P. village when the grenade fell and killed some children.
People were killed and 15 injured. We helped them. The child was hit. He was
dead, but because the parents insisted, I gave the first help, though I knew he
was dead. We saw lots of terrible things, massacred people.
What do you think about your commandants?
They were very good. They respected us. They were like parents with us.
T., a KLA soldier who took part in the battles at Ludovic and Prekaz, the
incidents in 199? that first brought the KLA to the public's attention
What were the reasons for Albanians to start an armed conflict?
The systematic repression against Albanians, especially the last ten years,
,,Albanians could not stand any more. They understood that the only force that
could change the situation is themselves. The first steps toward this
consciousness were the 1968 protests, this continued and in the end, eighties,
when Serbia took everything from Albanians, they had to do something. This was
the reason why in 1993 people started to think about this. We had a policy
which was not appropriate. It was a passive movement. We decided to form an
armed force as the only way to achieve our aims. KLA was formed in 1993 with
the first concrete actions against the Serbian police. This was the year when
KLA formally was born. . . .
One of the most important actions was the one in Drenica on 26 November
1997. Can you describe the case and the reaction on that?
We had different actions, but the ones who gave the reputation needed to the
KLA were actions 25, 26 November in Vojnik and Ludovic. . . . The success can
be considered no one of our soldiers died, only one civilian was injured and a
child too. This date was a big step towards the legitimating of the KLA, and
this way we were able to mobilize the great part of our people. This was the
first action of the frontal war fought by KLA against Serb forces.
Tell about Ludovic.
25 November is connected directly with the action of [a man who] overtook the
action with only three men against many Serb police and two armed vehicles. He
managed to resist, he damaged the cars and killed some Serbs. We knew then that
they would come . . . . So we blocked the three entrances, and wherever they
would come we would be waiting for them, though we had not many forces. Our
forces, I confess, were not many. We were young. The next day everything we
foresaw was becoming true. A helicopter was flying over the sky and stopped
upon Ludovic. Purposely or accidentally, we couldn't tell. The Serb column that
was coming from Skenderak was prepared for a tough war. We knew that if they
entered in Vojnike they would make massacre. The war was going on in the night
after 2400. We fought, attacking them in surprise and in all three places.