Serb mob surrounds troops on weapons search

PRISTINA, Serbia, Mar 2, 2000 -- (AFP) A crowd of up to 200 angry Serbs surrounded US troops on a weapons search in eastern Kosovo and tried to stop them detaining a man, a US army spokesman said Thursday.

The soldiers held the man after a search of his building in the village of Gornje Kusce on Wednesday uncovered two AK-47 assault rifles, a hand grenade and several rounds of ammunition, said spokesman Ian Fitzgerald.

The Serbs blocked the troops in the village for some five hours from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) until reinforcements were sent in together with the US brigade commander General Ricardo Sanchez, who calmed the situation, he added.

No shots were fired during the standoff in the village, some three kilometers (two miles) north of the town of Gjnilane, and no injuries were reported.

After calming the crowd, around 110 US troops succeeded in removing the detainee who was later handed over to United Nations police, Fitzgerald said.

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