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Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK

World: Europe

Retreating Serbs 'burning villages'

Leaving Kosovo: Yugoslav troops head north

Serb forces retreating from Kosovo are burning villages as they leave, according to observers.

Kosovo: Special Report
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe says its staff has seen the Kosovo village of Gorozhup in flames.

And BBC correspondent Paul Wood says he saw Kosovo villages "totally destroyed" around the town of Kacanik, south of Pristina.

Uninhabited villages

OSCE spokesman Andrea Angeli said the Serbs were responsible for the burning of Gorozhup because "there are no ethnic Albanians left there".

BBC Correspondent Paul Wood in Kosovo: "The devastation was total"
Mr Angeli said Serb forces had also renewed cross-border shelling into Albania. He said the villages of Letaj, Dobrune and Vlahan had been targeted.

The villages are largely uninhabited - their residents having already fled the dangerous border area.

Fighting on the Albanian border had intensified in the past week as the Kosovo Liberation Army tried to break through Serb defences.

Serbs open fire

Our correspondent saw smoke over Kacanik as Serbs withdrew, and the surrounding villages destroyed.

Refugees and the KLA accuse the Serbs of deliberately trying to burn remaining Kosovo Albanians out of their homes.

As Serb forces withdrew from Kacanik they opened fire and the KLA took up defensive positions.

The KLA said it was an attack on refugees but our correspondent said it could also have been a Serb attempt to cover their retreat.

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