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Saturday, June 19, 1999 Published at 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK

World: Europe

More refugees injured by mines

Refugees are warned of mine danger as they cross the border

Medical workers in Albania are treating a growing number of landmine victims, injured in explosions near the border with Kosovo.

Kosovo: Special Report
In the last three days, more than 20 people have been injured in a border area where no landmine clearance teams are operating.

Among the latest victims are three Albanians, a man and two children, injured when they trod on and detonated a mine in their border village.

The man, in his 20s, had both his legs amputated at the small local hospital in Kukes.

The 13-year-old boy lost one of his feet, while the other child, a 15-year-old, lost an eye.

The American doctor treating them said this incident would not be the last.

Warnings stepped up

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is stepping up attempts to warn of the mine danger as streams of Kosovo-Albanian refugees head across the border for home.

According to the BBC's Liz McKean in northern Albania, mine-clearing teams are focusing on Kosovo, but the heavily-mined Albanian side of the border is being ignored.

And a spokesman for Handicap International, an organisation devoted to helping landmine victims, said its representatives returning from Kosovo had heard a number of reports about booby-traps set intentionally to kill or maim returning refugees.

The group said many of the accidents had taken place in the gardens of private homes in the Pristina region.

Anti-tank mines

Three French soldiers were wounded on Friday when their light armoured vehicle set off an anti-tank mine on a road near the north Kosovo town of Mitrovica.

"None of their injuries was life-threatening and two of the men were driven back to their unit while the third was taken to an aid station by helicopter," said an army spokesman.

The vehicle had moved over to the side of the road to allow a convoy through, when it hit the mine and flipped over.

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