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Monday, December 21, 1998 Published at 15:48 GMT


World: Europe

Serb policeman killed in Kosovo

Serb police and separatist guerrillas are vying for control of Podujevo

A Serbian policeman has been shot dead in northern Kosovo in the latest sign that the cease-fire between the security forces and separatist ethnic Albanian guerrillas may be unravelling.

Nearly 50 people were killed in the Serbian province last week.

In the latest incident, a policeman died after an attack by unknown gunmen in the northern town of Podujevo. A woman accompanying him was wounded in the leg

Local Serbs have complained of a growing guerrilla presence in the overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian town, which is some 40km north of the regional capital, Pristina.

The shooting - and reports of Serb military convoy patrolling the area - have led to fears that the conflict could be spreading to the towns from the countryside, to which it has largely been confined.

The Podujevo incident came a day after the separatist KLA buried 33 fighters killed last week in a border clash with the Yugoslav army.

Some 5,000 Kosovo Albanians attended the funeral, pledging to continue their battle against the Serb state.

Refugee chief in Kosovo

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, is visiting central Kosovo on Monday.


[ image: Refugees fled Kosovo from February 1998]
Refugees fled Kosovo from February 1998
She flies on to Belgrade for talks with the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic

Ms Ogata is expected to review the conditions of thousands of ethnic Albanians displaced by the eight-month conflict which ended with a truce in October.

The Serb crackdown launched last February claimed over 1,000 lives and forced some 300,000 people from their homes.



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