UCPMB

From Academic Kids

The Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (Albanian: Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanovcit - UCPMB) was a guerrilla group fighting for independence from Serbia for the three municipalities: Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac, home to most of the Albanians of inner Serbia, adjacent to the province of Kosovo and Metohija. UCPMBs uniforms, procedures and tactics mirrored those of the disbanded KLA. The UCPMB operated from 1999 to 2001.

After the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, a three-mile "Ground Safety Zone" (GSZ) was established between Kosovo (still Serbian territory, but governed by United Nations) - and inner Serbia and Montenegro. Yugoslav army units were not permitted to patrol the area, only lightly-armed police forces. The exclusion zone included the predominantly Albanian village of Dobrosin, but not Preševo.

Former KLA guerrilla soldiers quickly established bases in the demilitarized zone, and Serbian police had to stop patrolling the area to avoid being ambushed. In January 2001, the UCPMB killed three Serbs in Mucibaba, near Presevo. In Bujanovac, four bombs were detonated in February, one near an elementary school, two in a Gypsy neighbourhood and one next to a cinema. Attacks were also made on Albanian politicians opposed to the KLA, including the murder of Zemail Mustafi, the Albanian vice-president of the Bujanovac branch of Slobodan Milošević's Socialist Party.

Seeing that the situation was getting out of control, NATO allowed the Yugoslav army to reclaim the demilitarized zone on May 24th 2001, and at the same time giving the rebels the opportunity to turn themselves over to KFOR. KFOR promised to just take their weapons and note their names before releasing them.

More than 450 UCPMB members took advantage of KFOR's screen and release policy, among them Shefket Musliu, the commander of the UCPMB, who turned himself over to KFOR at a checkpoint along the GSZ just after midnight May 26.

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