Albanians in Central Serbia

Albanians In Central Serbia

Albanians in Central Serbia

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According to the 2002 census, there are 61,647 Albanians in Serbia if the Kosovo Albanians are not counted. Of those, 59,952 live in Central Serbia, mostly in the Preševo Valley, at the far south of Serbia near the border with Kosovo. They mainly live in the municipalities of Preševo (Albanian: Preshevë), and Bujanovac (Albanian: Bujanoc), as well as in the part of the municipality of Medveđa (Albanian: Medvegjë).

Geography

In the municipalities of Preševo and Bujanovac Albanians form the majority of population (89.1% in Preševo and 54.69% in Bujanovac according to the 2002 census). In the municipality of Medveđa, Albanians are second largest ethnic group (after Serbs), and their participation in this municipality was 28.67% in 1991 and 26.17% in 2002.

The region of Bujanovac and Preševo is widely known as the Preševo Valley (Serbian: Прешевска Долина, Preševska Dolina, Albanian: Lugina e Preshevës).

History

In 1992, the Albanians of southern Serbia organized a referendum in which they voted that Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac should join Kosovo. Between 1999 and 2001, an ethnic Albanian guerilla organization, the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (in Albanian Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanocit, UÇPMB), was operational in this region with a goal to secede these three municipalities from the FR Yugoslavia and join them to Kosovo upon achieving...
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