THE PROBLEM OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
ALBANIAN VIOLENCE AGAINST SERBS IN THE KINGDOM OF SERBS, CROATS AND SLOVENIANS AND THE KINGDOM OF YUGOSLAVIA
Greater Albanian irredentist activity between the two world wars had the strong support of fascist forces, interested in breaking up the newly formed Yugoslav state. It was in the first place fascist Italy and the Third Communist International (Comintern) based in Moscow. The Greater Albania “Kosovo Committee” merged with the Comintern in the early 1920s. Italy directly supported the actions of Albanian terrorists (Kachaks) in Yugoslavia in the years after the First World War. “The leaders of that movement, Hassan Pristina and Mustafa Kroja, received from the Italian government initially 50,000 lira a month, later about 200,000 from September 1927. Much more.” As there were daily conflicts with the Kachaks, who had the task of attacking and killing Serbs, cutting telephone lines and cutting lines, the authorities of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes tried to calm the situation by compromising with the Kachak leaders. The ambassadorial conference decided to form a “neutral zone” on the territory of the SCS kingdom, so the Yugoslav authorities decided not to enter the “neutral zone” from the SCS kingdom, and the Kachaks from that zone to enter the territory of the SCS kingdom. “The neutral zone included the villages of Junik, Batuša, Molić, Morina, Brovina, Ponoševac, Popovac, Šišman, and it was definitely abolished on December 20, 1920. Bajram Curi felt safe in the “neutral zone”, surrounded by his bodyguards. He stayed, mostly, in Junik and Batuša. In December 1921, he called on all his supporters to come to the “zone”, intending to create military units there whose goal would be to overthrow the government of Ahmet Bey in Albania, and only after that to lead actions on the territory of the Kingdom of SCS. Between 2,000 and 5,000 “fighters” responded, supplying them with weapons and ammunition, which could be claimed to have been financed by Italy. The action of disarming the Albanian ducks on the territory of Kosovo lasted from January 5 to February 7, 1921, when it was stopped. During that time, 672 rifles, 223 revolvers, 4629 bullets, 30 bombs, 21 rifle barrels, 9 knives, and one barrel were confiscated from the barrels there. On that occasion, 21 military fugitives and 8 ducks were arrested. One kachak was killed and six kachak houses were set on fire, three houses in the village of Devetak, from which soldiers were shot as they approached the village, two houses in the village of Ranci where a kachak company spent the night, and one house in the village of Sicevo, where also gathered Kachaks.