Violence flares in Kosovo town

Sunday, 13 February, 2000

There has been more violence in the divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica, with the international peacekeeping forces coming under direct fire for the first time.
One ethnic Albanian, described as a sniper, was shot dead as Nato-led K-For peacekeepers returned fire and five others were wounded but their injuries were not life-threatening.
A seven-day, sunset-to-dawn curfew has been imposed.
It followed an earlier incident in the northern Kosovo town which has been the scene of repeated clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
For about two hours, Mitrovica was rocked by grenade explosions and automatic weapons fire.
Two French peacekeepers were injured in the violence. One of the soldiers was reported shot in the stomach. He has undergone surgery and is out of danger, according to K-For officials. The second soldier was hit in the arm.
United Nations police said that seven Albanian civilians were also injured in the northern Serb-dominated section of the town, when a grenade was thrown into their house.

Who started the violence?
It is unclear who started the violence. It may have been sparked by the throwing of the grenade into the Albanian home.
Serb sources in the town say that the trouble started when several ethnic Albanians from the south side of the River Ibar crossed to the north.
But a BBC correspondent in Belgrade, Irene Guzelova, says the violence may have been provoked after Nato peacekeepers raided a bar on Saturday night which Albanians say is a base in the town for Serb paramilitaries.

Recent history of violence
Mitrovica has been the scene of repeated clashes between the two communities who share the divided town.
Several people were killed earlier this month and hundreds of ethnic Albanians have fled their homes in the Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica.
Security measures have already been stepped up. More international peacekeepers have been brought into the town and several hundred extra police officers are due to join them.
An American K-For peacekeeping soldier was shot on Friday in another part of Kosovo.
The soldier was shot in the leg on Friday while on guard duty at Camp Montieth in the US-controlled town of Gnjilane in the south of the province.

Original article