Mass jail-break in Kosovo

Sunday, 3 September, 2000

Fifteen Serb prisoners have escaped from a United Nations-run detention centre in the city of Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo.
The men, who are accused of crimes ranging from mass murder and genocide to arson and theft, managed to overpower a prison guard and seize his keys.
Two of the prisoners were later recaptured and the search for the others is continuing.
The Serbs had attacked and slightly injured a UN prison guard at about 2100 (1900 GMT) on Saturday before making their escape, a spokesman for the administration said.
UN police spokesman Andrea Agnelli said one prisoner had been allowed to use the telephone, and when the door was opened to return him to jail the guard escorting him was ambushed by other prisoners.
Two more prison guards were overpowered and locked up.
The group escaped by scaling a perimeter fence.

Escaped prisoners
The jail, in the Serb-dominated northern sector of the ethnically divided city, has been used as one of the main centres for Serb prisoners in Kosovo.
The prisoners, many of them charged with war crimes, have often protested that they have been held for about a year without trial.
This is the largest group to have broken out of jail since the UN took over the administration of the province just last year.
On 4 August, three Serbs detained pending trial for war crimes and genocide escaped after being transferred from the jail to a hospital, where they were being treated under police guard.
On 5 July, a Serb accused of murder escaped from the same hospital, and one day later a Serb accused of attacking a K-For soldier escaped from a military hospital in Kosovo Polje, central Kosovo.
UN officials announced a review of security procedures, but it is not clear whether any changes have been brought into effect.

Original article