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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 August, 2003, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Two Serbs die in Kosovo attack
UN police run for cover during riot in Kosovska Mitrovica. Archive picture
Ethnic tensions remain in Kosovo
Two youths from the minority Serb community in Kosovo have been killed in an attack by unknown gunmen.

Six other people were injured in the attack, which took place as they were swimming in a river near the western village of Gorazdevac.

The attackers were waiting for the swimmers and opened fire with Kalashnikov machine-guns from the bushes.

The shooting coincides with a visit to the province by the newly appointed head of the United Nations administration there, Harri Holkeri.

Mr Holkeri is due to take over officially later this year.

Correspondents say many of the Serbs who have stayed in Kosovo after the war four years ago continue to face violence and intimidation.

'Act of a madman'

Local Serbs told Serbian radio they were shocked and terrified by the attack, said to be the worst against the community since the killing of a family of three in the town of Obilic in June.

Holkeri (l) arrives in Pristina
Holkeri is expected to push ahead with direct talks
The dead and injured youths were aged between 10 and 20.

UN police spokesman Derek Chappell described the shooting as the "act of a madman".

There are concerns about an upsurge in violence in the province ahead of proposed talks between ethnic Albanian officials and the Serbian authorities.

"This is a bad signal for the possibility for Kosovo to achieve tolerance," said Nato's senior commander in Kosovo, Lieutenant General Fabio Mini. "This is not the Kosovo we want."

The talks, which Mr Holkieri is expected to push ahead with, are expected to focus on common concerns while steering clear of the subject of the province's legal status.

The dialogue would be the first since the end of the 1999 conflict.

The Serbian Government has said it is prepared to grant autonomy to Kosovo but not full independence as demanded by ethnic Albanians.

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