The Nando Times - Serb killed in grenade explosion at Kosovo bar

By GJERAQINA TUHINA

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (December 18, 1999) - A grenade exploded in a bar in a southwestern Kosovo town, killing a Serb man and injuring eight others, NATO-led peacekeepers and Serb media said Saturday.

The explosion occurred late Friday in the town of Orahovac, about 40 miles southwest of the provincial capital, Pristina. "We believe that the victims were Serbs," said Mark Cox, a spokesman for the NATO-led command.

Cox had no further details.

In Belgrade, the independent Yugoslav news agency Beta said attackers first opened fire with automatic weapons about 8 p.m. and then hurled two grenades into the building.

The owner, Zoran Vukicevic, was killed and eight others were injured, Beta said.

NATO peacekeepers rushed to the scene but the attackers escaped in the darkness because the town had no electricity at the time, Beta said.

NATO and the United Nations have been unable to stop attacks by ethnic Albanians against Serbs and Gypsies since peacekeepers arrived in Kosovo in June following the withdrawal of Serb-led Yugoslav forces.

President Slobodan Milosevic withdrew Serb troops and police under a peace deal to end the 78-day NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, which brought a halt to an 18-month crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists.

U.S. officials estimate 10,000 ethnic Albanians died in the crackdown.

In August, ethnic Albanians barricaded the town to prevent Russian peacekeepers from taking up positions there from departing Dutch soldiers. The Albanians claim Russian mercenaries fought with the Serbs in the crackdown.

Last month, the Albanians dismantled parts of the barricade to allow free passage on most roads for humanitarian aid. Ethnic Albanians said that in return, NATO peacekeepers guaranteed that Russian forces would not be allowed to enter the town.

NATO peacekeepers, however, said the placement of Russian troops was not part of the deal.

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