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Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK


World: Europe

Looters target Kosovo Serbs

A Serb house burns near Pec

Crowds of Kosovo Albanians have gone on the rampage in the capital Pristina, ransacking Serb-owned shops and businesses and testing Nato's ability to contain the situation.

Nato says 14 civilians have been killed in the city in the last 48 hours - the worst period of violence since peacekeeping troops were deployed.

Kosovo: Special Report

A BBC Correspondent in Pristina says Serb residents are in a panic after three employees were killed at the university.

Another nine bodies have been found in the city, but Nato refused to say whether they were Serbs or Kosovo Albanians.

Nato said an Italian soldier, serving with K-For, had also died after his weapon accidentally fired while he was preparing to go on patrol.

Church siege


The BBC's Andy Tighe: "Nato has appealed for calm"
In the town of Pec, K-For is planning to help evacuate more than 400 Serbs who are under siege in church buildings by armed Albanians.

Reports say scores of Serbs are sitting in packed cars outside a Serbian Orthodox monastery, waiting for a Nato escort into Montenegro.

There are also reports of Albanians burning the homes of local Serbs and Gypsies in revenge attacks in the town.

Gavrilo Gojkovic, a Serb in Pec, said Kosovo Liberation Army rebels pushed him from his home with guns and a knife at his back.

"This is Kosovo. You have no place here now," he said they told him.

Call for restraint


The BBC's Michael Voss in Pristina: "The latest breakdown in law and order came only hours after Mr Solana left"
The Nato Supreme Commander for Europe, General Wesley Clark, who visited Pristina on Thursday, said he would ask Nato countries to speed up the deployment of peacekeeping troops to Kosovo.

The general, who was visiting the city with the Nato Secretary-General, Javier Solana, said K-For troops would do all they could to protect both communities.

The United Nations spokesman, Fred Eckhard, says more than 3,000 police are urgently required by the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

(Click here to see a map showing refugee movements)

More troops on the way

The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved the sending of more troops to serve alongside the K-For peacekeepers.

Under an agreement with Nato, Russia will send 3,600 troops to Kosovo, who will serve in the American, French and German sectors.

Thousands of British troops are to be put on permanent standby on Friday to take part in UN peacekeeping operations.

The war in Kosovo
At a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Britain would become the first major military power to make soldiers available at all times to join UN missions.

Refugees returning

A record 50,000 Albanians returned to Kosovo on Thursday, according to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR.

The influx brings to more than 300,000 the number of refugees who have gone home since peacekeepers moved into the province.

They have ignored appeals by aid workers not to return until troops have cleared landmines, booby traps and unexploded weapons in the province.

The UNHCR is now organising bus and lorry services for refugees still in camps in Macedonia and Albania who have no transport of their own.

Services to towns declared secure by K-For, such as Pristina, Prizren and Urosevac, could start as early as Monday, the UNHCR said.



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