|FOCUS News Agency|
Pristina. Former guerrilla commander Agim Ceku was nominated as Kosovo prime minister on Wednesday (March 1st 2006) after Bajram Kosumi bowed to domestic and international pressure to resign.
Ceku commanded the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1999 Kosovo War, and then commanded the Kosovo Protection Corps after the war.
Born in the Kosovo town of Pec on 29 October 1960, Ceku is a career soldier. He graduated from the Belgrade military academy and joined the Yugoslav People's Army as an artillery captain. He moved to the newly-formed Croatian Army in 1991 as Croatia made its bid for independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
He was closely involved in the subsequent war against Serbia and the breakaway Republic of Serbian Krajina, suffering wounds during fighting at the Medak Pocket in September 1993. He helped to update the doctrine and tactics of the Croatian Army over the next two years, planning the successful Operation Storm in 1995 that ended the war in Croatia. He was decorated nine times by Croatia for his service and rose to the rank of brigadier-general.
Ceku developed contacts with the Kosovo Liberation Army, a guerrilla group fighting Serbian rule in Kosovo, some time in the mid-1990s. He resigned from the Croatian Army in February 1999. When the Kosovo War broke out in March 1999, the KLA initially did very badly against Serbian/Yugoslav forces, due in part to poor leadership under its senior commander Suleiman "Sultan" Selimi, a militarily inexperienced individual who had been given the post largely for political reasons.
In May 1999, Ceku was appointed the KLA's chief of staff, replacing Selimi. He immediately set about reorganizing the KLA and implementing a proper military structure within the organization. In the closing days of the Kosovo War, the KLA began providing systematic intelligence to NATO as well as mounting attacks to lure Serbian forces into the open, enabling NATO warplanes to bomb them. According to reports at the time, Ceku was the principal liaison between NATO and the KLA.
Following the end of the war in June 1999, Ceku oversaw the demilitarization of the KLA and its transformation into the Kosovo Protection Corps.