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Alix Kroeger reports for BBC News
"All the bus routes have now been suspended"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jacky Rowland
"The region around Mitrovica is tense, with Serbs and Albanians keeping to their own areas"
 real 28k

Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 00:03 GMT
Rocket attack on Kosovo Serb bus

K-For troops K-For soldiers have had to deal with earlier attacks on Serb civilians

Two people have been killed in Kosovo and five injured in a rocket attack on a UNHCR bus carrying Serb civilians.

Kosovo: Special Report
The attack happened about 15km (10 miles) south-west of the northern town of Mitrovica. Heavy fog in the area is complicating rescue efforts by the international peacekeeping force K-For.

The bus, which was carrying around 50 passengers, was hit by an anti-tank rocket.

It was a regular weekly service operated by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) carrying Serbs between Mitrovica and the town of Djurakovac to the south-west.

This was a vicious attack on a clearly marked UNHCR bus carrying civilians
Dennis McNamara - UNHCR
The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright has deplored what she described as a cowardly attack on defenceless Serb passengers.

"This reprehensible act only serves to prolong the cycle of violence that has plagued Kosovo. We call on the leadership of the Kosovo Albanian community to join us in condemning this crime," Mrs Albright said.

The representative for the UNHCR in the Balkans, Dennis McNamara, also angrily criticised the attack.

"This was a vicious attack on a clearly marked UNHCR bus carrying civilians," he said.

French peacekeepers were escorting the bus at the time of the attack. K-For medical teams have gone to the scene.

K-For soldiers K-For soldiers are guarding the homes of some Serbs in Kosovo
There has been no word yet from K-For as to who may have fired the rocket at the bus.

The region around Mitrovica is tense, with Serbs and Albanians keeping to their own areas.

A BBC correspondent in Belgrade, Jacky Rowland, says the attack will inevitably deter many Serbs from making trips away from their homes.

It will also further dent the confidence of Serbs in the ability of K-For to protect them.

Kosovo's parliament disolved

In a separate development, one of the main Albanian leaders in Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, confirmed on Wednesday that the unofficial Kosovo parliament has been dissolved in line with an agreement to set up an interim administration with international officials and local Serbs.

Ibrahim Rugova Rugova has dissolved his self-declared parliament
A meeting to inaugurate the power-sharing executive broke up yesterday amid disagreement on whether all parallel Albanian institutions had been dissolved.

Mr Rugova also said he would continue to disburse millions of dollars collected from the Kosovo Albanians to the new body.

West abandons Kosovo

Meanwhile, the senior UN official in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has again blamed the international community for abandoning Kosovo.

Mr Kouchner said he no longer had the money to pay the salaries of essential workers like doctors, teachers or judges. He said people seemed to believe that Kosovo's problems had been solved once the immediate crisis was over.

"No one will benefit from this abandonment, except perhaps [Yugoslav President] Slobodan Milosevic," Mr Kouchner said.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Europe
False start for Kosovo council
31 Jan 00 |  Europe
K-For to disarm Kosovo Albanians
27 Jan 00 |  Europe
Kosovo funds fail to materialise
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
Dispute mars Kosovo inauguration
16 Sep 99 |  Europe
Kosovo Corps - an army for Kosovo?
06 Jan 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Kosovo's uncertain new year

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