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The BBC's Paul Anderson in Prsitina
"Recent violence has left Kosovo Serbs terrified of more violence"
 real 28k

Monday, 19 February, 2001, 02:00 GMT
Kosovo Albanian rebel shot dead
UCPMB rebels search people and vehicles
The UCPMB has been fighting for almost a year
An ethnic Albanian rebel commander has been shot dead by Serbian police in the disputed southern Serbian village of Lucane, hours after a landmine killed three Serb police.

A planned attempt by Albanian extremists

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica
Commander Miratoca was shot dead in his jeep late on Sunday, said Jonuz Musliu, political chief of the self-styled Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB).

Two other rebel fighters were wounded when they went to retrieve the body from an open area just 50 metres from a Serbian special police position, said Mr Musliu.

Meanwhile the Yugoslav leadership has agreed on a series of "selective" measures to tackle terrorism, said Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.

Landmine deaths

Mr Musliu, the cousin of UCPMB commander-in-chief Sheftket Musliu, said the Serb police fired across a river dividing the village, half of which has been held by the rebels since last November.

He denied the group had laid the two-anti tank mines which killed the Serb policemen, and said Serbs had placed the mines.

The three officers were killed in Lucane when they drove over the mines at about 0930 (0830 GMT) on Sunday. They were on the road to Bujanovac and had been delivering food for colleagues deployed in the area, just outside a buffer zone separating Kosovo from the rest of Serbia.

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic condemned the explosion as a "classic terrorist attack".

The incident came as Serbia observed a day of national mourning for at least seven Serbs killed in Friday's bomb attack on a bus in Kosovo.

'Terrorist actions'

Yugoslav and Serbian government leaders held and emergency meeting in Belgrade on Sunday to discuss the escalating violence.

"A whole range of measures for protection against terrorism has been agreed, which will, as until now, be selective and directed exclusively to the fight against organisers and those who have committed terrorist actions with a maximum protection of civilians," President Kostunica said in a TV address.

Shefket Musliu, right, commander of the ethnic Albanian rebels called the UCPMB, with colleague
The rebels want the Presevo Valley to be part of Kosovo
Mr Kostunica spoke for more than three hours with army Chief of Staff General Nebojsa Pavkovic, Prime Minister Zoran Zizic, Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic.

Also present were Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and his aides, as well as two top police officials.

Mr Kostunica said the bus bomb and the landmine attack "were a planned attempt by Albanian extremists to provoke" Belgrade security forces.

The 5km buffer zone separating Kosovo from southern Serbia has been the scene of clashes with ethnic Albanian rebels over the past year.

The Serbs accuse international peacekeepers of failing to protect them. They are demanding changes to the agreement reached with Nato covering the buffer zone, which bans them from deploying heavy equipment.

Our correspondent says the pressure will now be on Nato and the United Nations to change the line of the buffer zone to allow Serb forces to enter it and deal with the rebels.

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See also:

17 Feb 01 | Europe
Serbs mourn bomb victims
16 Feb 01 | Europe
Analysis: Serbs under threat
06 Feb 01 | Europe
Serbia offers talks with rebels
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