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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 20:12 GMT
Crowds at ethnic Albanian burial
Guard looks into Kosovo from Serbian territory
The border shooting is under investigation
More than 10,000 people have attended the funeral of an ethnic Albanian teenager killed by a border guard in Serbia's restive southern region.

Dashnim Hajrullahu, 16, was shot dead as he made an illegal crossing from Macedonia into Serbia's Presevo valley.

Mourners carried his body through the town of Presevo on Sunday, pausing in silence to protest over his death.

Senior Serbian officials have been sent to the region in an attempt to defuse tensions amid fears of unrest.

Mr Hajrullahu, was returning home on Friday to Miratovac in Serbia, around 500m from the border when he was shot trying to cross the border.

Police said the youth had ignored repeated commands to stop.

Serbian authorities said the border guard did nothing wrong, but the victim's family and local ethnic Albanians believe the boy was killed for no reason.

Around 200 people protested in Miratovac on Friday, demanding the guard responsible is held accountable.

Appeals for calm

The OSCE, the European security body, expressed concern over the shooting, and called for a "full and thorough investigation".

The organisation also appealed for restraint and calm by on the part of all those concerned.

"Stability in south Serbia should remain the key priority of all," it said in a statement.

Serbian Defence Minister Prvoslav Davinic, who on Saturday visited the region and met with ethnic Albanian leaders in a bid to defuse tensions, said the guard had acted in accordance with the rules.

He offered condolences on behalf of the government and the army, while promising a full investigation of the incident.

Serbia and Montenegro has recently stepped up its military presence in the region bordering the UN-administered province of Kosovo.

Presevo valley was the scene of fighting between Serb soldiers and ethnic Albanian guerrillas three years ago and remains tense today.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
08 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Kosovo
03 Dec 04 |  Country profiles


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