Saturday, 4 March, 2000Kosovo violence spreads to Serbia
Clashes have been taking place near the Serbia-Kosovo border between a new armed ethnic-Albanian group and Serbian police.
US soldiers patrolling the Kosovo side of the border said the exchanges in the Serbian village of Dobrosin lasted for two hours.
The village is in the demilitarised Serbian border zone, less than a kilometre from the border with the UN-administered province.
A K-For spokesman said: "The gunfire is assessed to be between armed Albanian extremists and Serbian local police who are authorised to maintain civilian law and order within the 5km-wide ground safety zone."
As a result of the clash, about 170 ethnic Albanians fled the area and moved into Kosovo.
The Nato-led peacekeeping force in the north of the province has also been reinforced.
The peacekeepers say an extremist ethnic-Albanian group has become active in the region in recent weeks.
The group calls itself the Liberation Army for Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB), after the main towns in the area. Its members first appeared in public at the January funeral of two ethnic-Albanian brothers who, according to their family, were killed by Serbian police.
They have been blamed for killing a senior Serb police officer and attacking United Nations staff.
In another development, Swedish peacekeeping troops fired warning shots to calm a Serbian riot that left five ethnic Albanians injured in the central Kosovo village of Gracanica.
About 70 Serbs gathered in protest after a grenade was allegedly thrown at a Serbian house on the edge of the village, just south of the provincial capital Pristina, said Mark Cox, a spokesman for the K-For peacekeeping force.
Nobody was hurt in the grenade attack early on Saturday, but Serbs started stoning ethnic Albanian cars passing through the village.
One of the ethnic Albanians was seriously injured and admitted to a British military hospital, while the others were transported to Pristina hospital with minor injuries.