24 March 2006

Albanian group attacks Serbs in Kosovo: UN police



Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Date: 07 Feb 2006


KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Serbia-Montenegro, Feb 7, 2006 (AFP) - A group of Kosovo Albanians attacked two Serbs in the worst ethnic violence in the province this year ahead of talks on the territory's future status, UN police said Tuesday.


Tensions remain high in Kosovo in the leadup to the direct talks which could result in its independence from Serbia as demanded by the ethnic Albanian majority.


Two ethnic Albanians were detained after the incident Monday night in Suvi Do village, about two kilometres (1.2 miles) from this ethnically divided northern town, said the international police force in a statement.


One of the victims, 20-year-old Mirko Jeftic, suffered a fractured cheekbone and concussion and was in a stable condition in Mitrovica's hospital, a doctor there told AFP.


The other, Nebojsa Kragovic, also 20, was treated for slight injuries and was later released from hospital, said the doctor.


Still legally a province of Serbia, Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations and NATO since mid-1999 when the alliance's air war ended a crackdown by Serbian forces against separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.


Serbia's government says 200,000 ethnic Serbs have since fled the province fearing reprisals from Albanians after the 1998-1999 conflict.


Out of the estimated 80,000 Serbs who remain in Kosovo, some 30,000 live in enclaves in the central part of the province.


Two Serbs were shot and wounded in Mitrovica in the final days of last year, sparking protests