Three Kosovar Albanian detainees escape from US military jail

PODGORICA, Jan 10, 2000 -- (AFP) U.S. peacekeeping troops were hunting Sunday for three Kosovo Albanian detainees who escaped from a prison inside a huge U.S. military base in the southeast of the Yugoslav province, officials said.

The three men, including one being held on murder charges and considered dangerous, fled the prison inside Camp Bondsteel late Saturday, said U.S. Captain Russell Berg.

Armed patrols were sent out across the eastern sector, while searches were still underway within the camp, home to some 5,000 U.S. soldiers deployed here as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR.

An investigation was underway into how the men escaped from the prison; a series of tents surrounded by razor-wire where some 90 local detainees are held, Berg said.

Most of the prisoners in the camp -- the region's main detention center --- are ethnic Albanians held for everyday criminal offenses and are kept separate from the few Serbian prisoners held by peacekeepers.

KFOR is responsible for security issues in Kosovo, although the United Nations mission here has taken charge of at least one prison since the international community took over administration of the troubled province from Belgrade last June.

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