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UCPMB

Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (Albanian: Ushtria Clirimtare Presheve, Medveja e Bujanovec - UCPMB). Guerrilla group fighting for independence from Serbia for the regions of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, Albanian-dominated areas situated north of Kosovo. 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 nominally a Serbian province, but governed by NATO) - and the rest of Serbia. 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 Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.

Former KLA guerrilla soldiers quickly established bases in the demilitarized zone, and Serbian police had to stop patrolling the area to avoid beeing 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 been made on Albanian politicians opposed to the KLA, including the murder of Zemail Mustafi[?], the Albanian vice-president of the Bujanovac branch of Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party.

Seeing that the situation was coming out of control, NATO allowed the Yugoslavian 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, and then let them go.

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 acheckpoint along the GSZ just after midnight May 26.



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