Former Albanian President and Prime Minister Sali Berisha posted on his Facebook page a message from an unnamed police officer who claimed that children are being smuggled from Kosovo into Albania by criminals who use them as organ donors which they subsequently sell to the highest bidder.
The police officer wrote that border guards are paid 150 euros to let through children abducted from impoverished Kosovo villages.
“Nine children under 18 have been taken out so far. Please publish this information and do something about it,” the anonymous officer wrote.
Sputnik tried to act on the information, which was completely ignored by Albanian media. However, several anonymous sources in the Dragas municipality in Kosovo on the border with Albania and Macedonia, told Sputnik that four children between eight and 12 – three girls and a boy – had disappeared in the area during the past few months.
He added that Albanians used to buy young Kosovo girls for marriage. Moreover, people in the impoverished Dragas community often send their kids to work as farm hands in neighboring Albania and because this is illegal, they will hardly report the disappearances to police.
“There are people who agree with the children’s parents to take their kids to work or to get married in Albania. Those who are looking for a job are taken to Albania on trucks and then brought back. If the children in question were abducted I don’t think their parents will go to the police. They will rather try to find them themselves,” the source explained.
For his part, the former head of Yugoslav intelligence Miromir Stojanonic told Sputnik that Sali Berisha supported the Kosovo Liberation Army terrorists.
“Berisha knows full well what was going in the northern Albanian camps where abducted Serbs and pro-Belgrade Albanians were held at the time, including Yugoslav soldiers and policemen taken prisoner by the KLA,” Stojanovic told Sputnik Serbia.
He added that, according to Yugoslav intelligence, people in those camps disappeared without a trace.
“We have irrefutable evidence that those people were killed and their organs [were sold in the West]. Berisha is now at loggerheads with the Albanian Premier Edi Rama and the Kosovo authorities, that’s why he decided to shed light on the continued trade in organs in the region,” Stojanovic added.
None of the Albanian journalists Sputnik talked with could say whether Berisha’s information was correct or if he had published it for political reasons.
However, the events described in the report happened in the late 1990s-early-2000s.
In her book “The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals,” published in 2008, former United Nations war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte wrote about cases of murder and organ trafficking by Kosovo politicians, including Kosovo’s current President Hashim Thaci.
In April 2015, the international community called on Kosovo authorities to investigate alleged organ trafficking by members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War, that were first mentioned in the 2010 report to the Council of Europe.
According to the document, perpetrators killed Serb captives to remove and sell their organs during the war.