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Saturday, January 16, 1999 Published at 20:37 GMT


Serbs say terrorists killed at Racak

The following is the text of a report by the Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug quoting the statement by the Serbian Interior Ministry.

Serbian policeman Goran Vucicevic was wounded early Friday when the police blocked the village of Racak in the Yugoslav Republic of Serbia's Kosovo-Metohija province in an effort to arrest an ethnic Albanian terrorist group that killed policeman Svetislav Przic a few days ago, the Serbian Interior Ministry said in a statement Saturday.

Kosovo Section
The statement, communicated by the Pristina-based Media Centre, said that ethnic Albanian terrorist groups had opened fire with automatic weapons, hand-held rocket launchers and mortars on the police on routes leading to Racak village in the Stimlje municipality.

The terrorist fire came from trenches, bunkers and fortifications. The police responded and crushed the terrorists, said the statement.

Several dozen terrorists were killed in the clashes with the police. Most of them were in uniforms bearing the insignia of the ethnic Albanian terrorist organization calling itself the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the statement said.

Several police vehicles were destroyed in the clashes. The police seized one Broving [sic] 12.7-mm heavy machine-gun, two machine-guns, 36 automatic rifles, two sniper rifles and a large quantity of ammunition and hand grenades. The police also seized radios and other military material.

Immediately after the clashes, a team headed by Pristina District Court Investigating Magistrate Danica Marinkovic and Deputy District Attorney Ismet Sufta arrived at the scene, but was unable to investigate as it came under terrorist fire from nearby hills.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Verification Mission to Kosovo-Metohija, which has been informed about the beginning of the arrest operation, also arrived at the scene.

The statement said that the investigation on the scene was hampered again Saturday, because the OSCE mission insisted that it be conducted without the presence of the police which, the mission said, might trigger more clashes.

The Serbian Interior Ministry warns against possible manipulation and abuse of the media, as the investigation was not conducted by competent investigating bodies, the statement said.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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