Upsurge in violence in Kosovo in past week

PRISTINA, Apr 11, 2000 -- (AFP) Violence surged in Kosovo in the past week, UN administrators of the troubled Yugoslav province said Monday, with murders jumping from three in the previous week to 10.

"The victims were predominantly from ethnic minority communities," said Susan Manuel, spokeswoman for the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Four Serbs were killed, four Roma, one ethnic Albanian and an unidentified person died in the week ending Sunday, which also saw the savage beating of a 70-year-old Bosnian woman in Pec in the west.

The attacks on Roma, often accused by ethnic Albanians of collaborating with Belgrade's oppression of the Kosovo Albanian majority last year, included the killing of two boys aged 17 and 18 and a woman aged 48 in Pec.

The three were found shot dead Saturday by local members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), the civil emergency relief squad formed out of the disbanded separatist Kosovo Liberation Army, Manuel said.

The body of a 70-year-old woman who had been murdered, also in Pec, was found in the burned-out remains of a Serb house which had been torched by unidentified attackers, she said.

In the same town on Saturday a 70-year-old Bosnian woman was severely beaten by a crowd of young Albanians, apparently for speaking Serbo-Croat, Manuel said.

UN police also identified the body of an 84-year-old man discovered bound and shot in the head near Pristina as a Czech long-term resident of the provincial capital, she said.

Attacks against Slavic minorities, especially Serbs, have been common since NATO-led peacekeepers took over security of the province last June, replacing Yugoslav forces responsible for the mass oppression of ethnic Albanians.

Some 240,000 non-Albanians have fled the province since then, mostly to the surrounding Yugoslav republics of Serbia and Montenegro.

Original article