CEOL
250 Serb homes destroyed in Kosovo by ethnic Albanians

BELGRADE, Apr 20, 2000 -- (AFP) The Yugoslav government accused ethnic Albanians of destroying 250 abandoned Serb homes near the western Kosovo town of Pec over the weekend, Belgrade media sources said Wednesday.

In a letter of protest to the United Nations, Belgrade said that "ethnic Albanian terrorists in Kosovo burned and used bulldozers to raze 250 houses in the Serb village of Bijelo Polje, near Pec, on April 15."

In Pristina, headquarters of the UN administration in Kosovo, UN police spokesman Dimitri Kaportsev told AFP he knew nothing about the alleged incidents.

The letter, written by Yugoslav Ambassador to the United Nations Vladislav Jovanovic, was addressed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and acting UN Security Council president and Canadian UN Ambassador Robert Fowler.

Serb residents left Bijelo Polje last July in fear of reprisals committed by ethnic Albanians, once Yugoslav forces retreated from the village and NATO forces had arrived.

Jovanovic accused the alleged "terrorists" of looting the homes before setting them on fire, piling their finds on some 15 trucks before leaving the village.

Belgrade accused ethnic Albanians of burning the town so that Serbs would never return, implicating NATO and UN forces in the incident by saying they did nothing to prevent the destruction.

According to Kaportsev, 19 house blazes had been reported to police in Pec from January 1 through the first week of April.

"Since then, there have not been a significant number of house fires in that region," the UN spokesman said.



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