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

Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 03:02 GMT
Serbia says K-For is weak
K-for soldiers in Kosovo
K-For soldiers study the scene of clashes
Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic has accused the Nato-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo of being too weak in its dealings with armed Albanians.

Mr Zivkovic said the force, K-For, was shying away from direct confrontation.


[Nato] are afraid that the Albanian terrorists will perceive them as their adversaries. Albanian extremists are in essence throwing down the gauntlet not only to Serbia but to the international presence in Kosovo

Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic
And the Serbian justice minister, Vladan Batic, also criticised K-For and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission for failing to stop the escalation of violence in Kosovo and southern Serbia.

Clashes flared on Monday again between suspected ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian security forces in a tense southern region bordering Kosovo.

The number of casualties from a bomb attack on Friday on a convoy of buses carrying Serbs in Kosovo has risen to 10.

On Sunday, police in the town shot dead an ethnic Albanian commander, hours after a landmine killed three Serb officers.

Officials from the UN refugee agency have said Serbs are being ruthlessly hunted down in Kosovo and warned Albanians in the province they risk losing international support if the killing does not stop.

Clashes

Serbian news agency Beta said Albanian gunmen had attacked police at first light with on Monday "all available means" in the divided town of Lucane, on the edge of the buffer zone between Kosovo and Serbia.

Funeral of Serb policeman Boban Mitic, killed in Lucane
Relatives grieve at the funeral of one of the three Serb policemen
There were exchanges of machine-gun and mortar fire, but no reports of casualties.

Yugoslavia has blamed the latest attacks on Kosovo's ethnic Albanian militants, but they have denied responsibility.

The 5km buffer zone between Serbia and Kosovo was created to prevent clashes between Serbian forces and K-For troops, but has been the scene of violence with ethnic Albanian rebels over the past year.

The Serbs accuse international peacekeepers of failing to protect them.

Truce call

The militants want the zone to be united with Kosovo as part of a push for independence for the southern Serbian province, which has been run by the United Nations and Nato-led peacekeepers since June 1999.

Rebel commander Shefket Musliu of UCPMB rebel group in Lucane
Ethnic Albanian rebel leader Shefket Musliu (left) in Lucane
Only lightly armed Serbian police are allowed to enter the zone, and ethnic Albanian militants have taken control of most of the strip in recent months.

Nato Secretary-General George Robertson on Monday deplored the escalating violence, saying that ethnic tensions in the region could only be settled "through direct negotiations between the parties".

"The people of the region, of all ethnic groups, have suffered enough," Mr Robertson said in a statement issued by Nato headquarters shortly before he was to leave for talks in Moscow.

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17 Feb 01 | Europe
Serbs mourn bomb victims
19 Feb 01 | Europe
Kosovo Albanian rebel shot dead
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