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Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK


World: Europe

Violence flares in Kosovo

Violence also flared in the town in August

One Serb is reported to have been killed and more than 20 people injured - including French and Russian troops - in a pitched battle between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Kosovo: Special Report
UN officials said trouble flared in the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica after a funeral to rebury about 20 Kosovo Albanians whose remains were exhumed from a mass grave last month.

Eyewitnesses said mourners spotted Serbs in cars on a main road, and began stoning them.


[ image:  ]
A spokesman for the French forces said one Serb had been killed and several injured, but he could not confirm eyewitness reports that a Russian armoured vehicle was firebombed.

The spokesman said 11 Serbs and 11 French troops had been wounded, four of them seriously. Four Russians are also hurt.

The Russians fired into the air at one stage after being attacked, the spokesman said. The area is said to remain tense after the incident.

Tensions high


The BBC's Jon Leyne in Pristina: "The peacekeepers have got their work cut out keeping the two sides apart"
Hostility between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs has been running high in Kosovska-Mitrovica, which is divided by the Ibar river into Serb and Albanian areas.

The town is one of the most dangerous troublespots in Kosovo.

Local Serbs and Albanians confront each other almost daily across the bridge that divides the city.

Nato and the United Nations have made little progress in reconciling Serb and Albanian communities.

Last month, three people were shot when up to 1,000 ethnic Albanians tried to enter the Serbian quarter.

Tuesday's funeral was for men kidnapped and allegedly killed by Serb paramilitaries during the Nato bombing.





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