Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, June 22, 1999 Published at 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK


World: Europe

Blast kills British Army soldiers

One of the casualties is stretchered away

The Nato-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo has suffered its first casualties - two British army soldiers killed in an explosion during an operation to clear munitions.

Kosovo: Special Report
Two Kosovo Albanian civilians were also killed and a third is in a stable condition in hospital.

BBC Correspondent Paul Wood - reporting from the scene - says the blast appears to have been caused by the remains of a Nato cluster bomb.


Kate Adie reports: "The explosion left two Gurkhas dead"
The soldiers - Gurkhas from Nepal serving with the Royal Engineers - were clearing munitions from a school in the town of Orlate on the edge of the British sector.

Local people say that some 50 separate pieces of unexploded ordnance were collected by the British explosives experts, being guided by local KLA fighters.

One of the explosives is said to have gone off at 1325 GMT, leaving a large crater.


[ image:  ]
The deaths came as President Clinton made it clear that Serbia would get no funds to rebuild its infrastructure while Slobodan Milosevic remained in power in Yugoslavia.

Speaking in Bonn after talks with Germany's Chancellor Schröder, and with the outgoing President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, Mr Clinton said the rebuilding of the Balkans would be very costly but cheaper than continuing the war over Kosovo.

But he made it clear that Europe would be expected to provide the bulk of the funds.

Although hospitals and aid organisations would get financial help, damage caused by Nato bombs would not be put right until the Serbian leader stepped down.

A donors meeting will be held in July to discuss immediate reconstruction plans for Kosovo, with another session in the autumn to consider longer term plans for the region.

Danger brought into sharp focus


Paul Wood reports: "Parts of Nato bombs on either side of the road"
A British military spokesman said Monday's fatal bomb blast highlighted the continuing dangers posed for both the K-For peacekeeping troops and returning refugees.

(Click here to see a map showing how refugees are returning home.)

"Troops already take all possible precautions but the nature of military operations inevitably involves dangers," said Lieutenant Colonel Nick Clissett.

Brits in Balkans
"This tragic accident outlines the dangers to K-For troops, who are working to create a safe and secure environment for the return of the displaced people of Kosovo."


UK Prime Minister Tony Blair pays tribute to the soldiers' bravery
The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has expressed his condolences to the families of the soldiers.

He said they had been clearing a large ammunition dump in the school.

Challenges ahead

After taking full control of the province from Serb forces on Sunday, K-For faces the difficult job of making the province safe for both Serbs and Albanians.


Ben Brown reports: "The priority for many is searching for missing loved ones"
The international medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres, has warned of a massive rise in casualties from unexploded mines as more Kosovo Albanian refugees return.

MSF says one of the most recent casualties was a 13-year old girl who ran into her garden, setting off a mine which blew off both her legs.

It says many Albanian homes have been booby-trapped by the departing Serb forces.

But K-For says it does not have the resources to check private houses and gardens for landmines.

BBC correspondents say the peacekeepers also seem unable to prevent Kosovo Albanians from looting and burning down the homes of Serbs who have fled.

Since Kosovo Albanian refugees began returning to the province last weekend, up to 50,000 Serb civilians have fled, fearing reprisals.



Other top stories



[ image:  ]

(click here to return)




Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

22 Jun 99 | UK
British Army probes Gurkha deaths

21 Jun 99 | Europe
Clinton calls shots over aid

21 Jun 99 | Europe
'Widespread' use of land-mines

21 Jun 99 | Europe
Kosovo rebels to disarm

20 Jun 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Sleeping with the enemy

18 Jun 99 | Europe
Rebuilding the Balkans: Who pays ?

13 Jun 99 | UK
Gurkhas: A force to be reckoned with





Internet Links


Nato

The Royal Gurkha Regiment

Serb Ministry of Information

Kosovo Crisis Centre

The British Army


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift