The Nando times - One wounded in skirmish on Kosovo's border

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (November 20, 1999 6:39 p.m. EST) - One ethnic Albanian was wounded when a clash broke out after Kosovo Albanians reportedly crossed into Serbia proper, the NATO-led peacekeeping force said Saturday.

Maj. Roland Lavoie, a NATO spokesman, said that a group of Kosovo Albanians had brought a fellow Albanian with a gunshot wound to a Kosovo hospital late Friday.

Lavoie, who was reached by telephone from Belgrade, said peacekeepers were investigating the shooting, which took place outside Kosovo on the Serbian side of the border, apparently between Serbs and the band of ethnic Albanians.

"There was some gunfire there, and now we are monitoring the situation to see if it's skirmishes or something more serious," Lavoie said.

The wounded man was taken to Kosovo's capital, Pristina, for treatment, he said.

Kosovo, the southern province of Serbia, is now under control of NATO-led peacekeepers, and under agreements with Belgrade, Yugoslav troops must maintain a distance of several miles from the border.

The independent Belgrade daily Glas reported Saturday that armed Kosovo Albanians had made a number of attacks on south-central Serbian villages close to the border with Kosovo. There was no independent confirmation of the report.

Ethnic Albanians are the majority in Kosovo. Serb-led government troops withdrew from the province in June following a 78-day NATO bombing campaign to halt the 18-month Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

Tens of thousands of Kosovo Serbs have fled the province this year, fearing revenge attacks by the ethnic Albanians.

Separately, five Serbs were injured in the tense, divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, in a clash when about 200 ethnic Albanians tried to cross over to the Serb-controlled part of the town, the independent Beta news agency reported.

Lavoie said groups on opposite sides of the division "were engaged in rock-throwing."

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