Paul WoodTroops foil Yugoslav 'terrorist attack
Tuesday, 19 September, 2000
The UN's chief administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, says British and Swedish peacekeeping troops have foiled an attempt by Yugoslav special forces to mount a "terrorist" attack in the province.
The K-For peacekeeping troops arrested three Serb men in overnight raids and seized a haul of arms and ammunition.
The three, who had been tailed for several weeks, were arrested without resistance in an operation involving about 300 troops. They were later handed over to UN police.
The arrests come ahead of Sunday's presidential and legislative elections in Yugoslavia. There has been heightened tension in Kosovo in the run-up to the controversial elections.
The raids took place in the Kosovo Serb enclave of Gracanica, 10 kilometres (six miles) south-east of the capital Pristina, K-For said.
Mr Kouchner said the plot was "an obvious attempt to damage peace, security and democracy in Kosovo" in the run-up to the elections.
He said two of those arrested "are believed to be members - or former members - of the Yugoslav army special forces based in Nis", in southern Serbia.
The group's planned target is not known.
The K-For troops found an arms haul including one Kalashnikov assault rifle, three pistols, hand grenades and 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) of plastic explosive with detonators and remote control devices.
Serbs in Kosovo will be allowed to vote in Sunday's election, although the international forces will do nothing to help them.
Mr Kouchner has called the poll a false election and a provocation, with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic doing everything he can to stay in power.
The UK has sent the first of 600 extra troops to Kosovo ahead of the elections.
Some recent opinion polls suggest the opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica has a 2-1 lead over President Milosevic, but many independent observers predict widespread electoral fraud.
Almost 200,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo, fearing attacks from the majority Albanian community. Serb forces pulled out of the province after Nato's massive bombing campaign last June.
Nato has frequently accused Yugoslav forces of infiltrating Kosovo to destabilise the population.
For its part, Belgrade asserts that K-For has failed to enforce law and order or protect minorities.