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The BBC's Nick Wood in Mitrovica
"Children laid flowers and lit candles"
 real 28k

Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 17:08 GMT
Serbs mourn bomb victims
Nato peacekeepers block the road
Nato checkpoints restrict access to Serb areas
Thousands of Serbs have taken part in peaceful demonstrations across Kosovo to mourn seven people killed in a bomb attack on a bus on Friday.

Amid increased security, demonstrators lit candles and laid flowers in memory of the victims.


What happened yesterday (Friday) was a massacre. Everyone in the world sees us, but no one helps us

Local security committee member
In the divided town of Mitrovica, protesters called for the resignation of the head of the Nato-led peacekeeping force in the province, General Carlo Cabigiosu.

Ethnic Albanians have been blamed for the attack, which took place near the town of Podujevo in northern Kosovo, 40km (25 miles) north-east of Pristina.

The victims of the bomb explosion had been travelling in a five-vehicle convoy to the town of Gracanica for a religious festival - 17 February is the day when Serbs traditionally remember their dead and visit family graves.

'Massacre'

"What happened yesterday (Friday) was a massacre. Everyone in the world sees us, but no one helps us," a member of a local security committee told a rally in Mitrovica.

Remains of the bus
The deadliest attack in more than a year
It was the deadliest attack in more than a year and is likely to further undermine efforts by peacekeepers to improve relations between Serbs and ethnic Albanians after last year's rise to power of a democratic government in Belgrade.

The Yugoslav Government condemned the attack and declared Sunday a day of national mourning for the victims.

It asked for increased security measures to be implemented, and President Vojislav Kostunica called on Nato to prevent Kosovo from becoming a place where "fear and intimidation rule".

Suspects

Access to Serbian areas of Kosovo are now restricted by Nato checkpoints in the hope of preventing violence.

Injured passengers
More than 40 people were injured in the blast
So far, no group has said it carried out the bombing, but police are questioning two suspects detained before the remote-controlled device exploded.

The bombing has also been condemned by leaders of Kosovo's Albanian majority, who described it as a serious blow to attempts to build peace.

It was a year ago that a similar attack on a convoy organised by the UN refugee agency led to a wave of revenge killings in Mitrovica in which seven Albanians died.

Now the UN administration and the Nato-led peacekeeping force, K-for, are bracing themselves for further violence.

Ethnic Albanians are pushing for independence for Kosovo - which remains a province of Serbia, the main republic in Yugoslavia - after suffering repression under the rule of ousted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

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See also:

16 Feb 01 | Europe
Serbs die in Kosovo bus blast
16 Feb 01 | Europe
Analysis: Serbs under threat
14 Feb 01 | Europe
UN police come under attack
15 Feb 01 | Europe
Nato welcomes Serbian peace plans
29 Jan 01 | Europe
Kostunica warns of fresh fighting
16 Mar 00 | Europe
Kosovo one year on
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