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Kosovo: 70 percent of Serb gravestones destroyed in south Mitrovica cemetery

300 Serbs visit cemetery in south Mitrovica Some 70 percent of Serb gravestones destroyed in south Mitrovica cemetery This morning on Memorial Saturday (All Souls' Day) about 300 Serbs from north Kosovska Mitrovica visited the Orthodox cemetery located in the south, Albanian part of the city.

There were no incidents. The Serbs arrived at the cemetery in south Kosovska Mitrovica, where some 70 percent of gravestones have been destroyed, escorted by the Kosovo Police Service.

The Serbs say that the Pentecostal Memorial Saturday is the only opportunity when they can visit, with the escort of military and police forces, the graves of their deceased relatives and friends.

Sixty-two year old Zorka Gerber from Zvecan visited the Orthodox cemetery in the south part of Mitrovica this morning. "I came to visit the grave where my daughter was buried 15 years ago. She was only 26 years old and she left two children behind," she said. "I always came [to visit], with a KFOR escort, except for last year, when I could not because I was ill. It is difficult like this, when one has to wait for a police and KFOR escort to be able to come," said Mrs. Gerber.

Although she comes alone, since her husband has passed away, she is not afraid. She says it is less difficult for her when she at least has the opportunity to visit her loved ones.

"I come by myself by bus whenever a visit to the cemetery is organized. It seems to me it is far easier for me after I come here and I am not afraid at all, I feel no fear. This morning I got up at 4:30 a.m. just to come," she added.

In the south part of Kosovska Mitrovica more than 500 gravestones have been destroyed in the Serb cemetery and Serbs have not been buried here since 1999. In the Albanian cemetery in the north part of the city, not one gravestone has been damaged. The greatest number of destroyed Serb cemeteries are located in Metohija, in the municipalities of Klina, Djakovica, Pec, Istok, as well as Srbica, Vucitrn, Podujevo and Kosovo Polje.

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