Kosovo ex-rebel spokesman compares certain peacekeepers to Serbs

PRISTINA, Jan 26, 2000 -- (AFP) Kosovo's international administrators were accused Tuesday of using security tactics similar to those of the 'Serbian criminals.'

The charges were made by Jakup Krasniqi, a spokesman for Kosovo's former ethnic Albanian guerrillas, in letters to General Klaus Reinhardt, commander of the international peacekeeping force KFOR, and UN administration head Bernard Kouchner.

Krasniqi, of the Kosovo Democratic Progress Party of ex-rebel leader Hashim Thaci, told AFP: "Certain acts by KFOR, in conjunction with the UN police, remind us of the time of repression" under the Serbs.

He was referring to searches in recent weeks of figures who "symbolize the resistance against Belgrade."

These included a search earlier this month of the house of Thaci's brother, who fired a gun in public during New Year's eve celebrations. Security forces found a large sum of money in various currencies and an unlicensed gun in the house.

Krasniqi also accused KFOR of actions against former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Sulejman Selimi, and a relative of one of the founders of the KLA, Adem Jashari, whose killing by Serb forces in 1997 sparked Albanian resistance.

"I still have trust in the NATO flag, in Mr. Kouchner and General Reinhardt, but they should control their men," said Krasniqi.

Reinhardt and Kouchner apologised to Thaci for any inconvenience after his brother and a bodyguard were briefly detained and ordered their men to consult them before taking any more action against local leaders.

"Did the international forces come to Kosovo to help the Albanian people who suffered the last holocaust of the century, or to carry on using, in a slightly gentler form, the methods of the criminal Serb police" Krasniqi wrote in the letter dated January 22.

He also accused certain forces within KFOR, including Russians, of "receiving their orders directly from Belgrade."

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