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Friday, April 23, 1999 Published at 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK

UK Politics

KLA recruits sign up

The KLA has despatched 500 volunteers to Kosovo

The Kosovo Liberation Army has launched a successful recruitment drive in the UK, as volunteers from across the globe continue to arrive in Albania to join up.

Kosovo: Special Report
More than 1,100 people have signed up at a recruitment centre in north London where they pledge their lives for the struggle against the Serbs.

Around 500 volunteers have already been despatched to Kosovo, although most have none or very little fighting experience.

[ image: Volunteers are determined to avenge the suffering of their families]
Volunteers are determined to avenge the suffering of their families
Volunteer Fisnik Danca pointed out that many of the Serbs were not trained either.

He said: "All I need is a Kalashnikov and the will to go. If the Serbs can shoot, I can shoot back as well."

Some recruits have families in Kosovo and are determined to avenge their suffering.

Another volunteer, Rini, said: "I don't need to live if my family are dead."

[ image:  ]
The KLA emerged in 1992 and its first attacks were originally focused on the Serbian police, but it is now fighting against army units.

Its goal is to unite the Albanians of Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania into a greater Albania, but in recent weeks it has been fighting for survival in the face of the Serb onslaught.

The organisation is being kept at arms length by the West which at one time considered it a terrorist organisation. Now the KLA hopes Nato will openly support it.

[ image: The KLA is hoping for Nato support]
The KLA is hoping for Nato support
Pleurat Sejdiu, the KLA's diplomatic representative in London, said: "We want to defend our country and create a military balance on the ground so that it will be much easier for future Nato ground troops."

Since 1 April, when the KLA called on all Kosovo Albanian men to join the cause, 10,000 recruits have arrived in Albania, mostly from Germany, Switzerland, France and Austria.

After arriving in Albania, in a matter of days, they will be getting their first military experience in training camps in the northern Albanian mountains. Then they will slip across the border to join the fight.

According to the The Times newspaper earlier this week Nato is using intelligence supplied by the KLA in its air strikes against Serb forces.

After repeated denials by the alliance of formal links with the KLA, The Times said one of its reporters had witnessed information being relayed from the rebel fighters to Nato via satellite telephones.

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