Serb policeman, Albanian killed in clash

BELGRADE, Feb 28, 2000 -- (AFP) A Serb policeman and an ethnic Albanian guerrilla were killed in a shoot-out near the border with Kosovo, the official Tanjug news agency reported on Sunday.

It said three other policemen were wounded after what it termed "Albanian terrorists" - Belgrade's term for guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army - crossed from the troubled province on Saturday night and ambushed a police patrol with automatic weapons and hand grenades.

The incident took place near the village of Konculj, in an area with an ethnic Albanian majority, like neighboring Kosovo.

Over the past few months the village has seen three attacks against police, the independent Beta news agency reported.

Western diplomats and politicians have accused Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of reinforcing troops along the border with Kosovo in order to spread fear and drive out ethnic Albanians.

They have warned Belgrade the world will not tolerate any attempt to destabilize the region further.

Belgrade says it is merely responding to "terrorism" by Kosovo Albanians crossing the border.

Milosevic's Socialist Party said the attack was fresh proof that Albanian "terrorists" had the support of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force and the U.N.-led administration in Kosovo.

"It is a fact that the attack was conducted from the territory where KFOR is responsible for security," it said in a statement on state television.

In another incident in the same area, Belgrade authorities accused ethnic Albanians on Saturday of planting a bomb that damaged a court house in the southern Serbian town of Bujanovac.

Tanjug quoted a Serbian deputy justice minister as calling the bombing "a terrorist act by Albanian bandits." No casualties were reported.

Original article