Three ethnic Albanians killed in Serbia

PRISTINA, Apr 24, 2000 -- (AFP) Serb forces killed three ethnic Albanians in southeastern Serbia Friday, a political council representing ethnic Albanians in the region said in remarks published here Sunday.

"Serb forces attacked and killed Sherif Junuzin and two other citizens, one of them aged 65," the political council for the main local towns of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac said in a statement in Koha Ditore, a Kosovo Albanian-language daily.

"The incident occurred on Friday at 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) as the people were passing through the village of Djerdjec," or Djordjevac in Serbian, the statement said.

Sources close to Serbian police in the area said two attacks against Serb police took place overnight Thursday to Friday near the town of Bujanovac, a town in the predominantly ethnic Albanian Presevo Valley.

Two Serbian police were injured in one of the attacks, the same sources said.

The other attack took place at 5:00 a.m. Friday near Djordjevac, which is close to Bujanovac. Bursts of automatic weapons fire targeted police without causing any casualties, the sources said.

Two of the assailants may have been killed and another captured, according to sources close to the Serb police in Vranje, the administrative center for the region.

The political council was set up last month after talks between US officials in Kosovo, political representatives from the area and members of an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group known as the UCPMB, or Liberation Army for Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.

It said that "pressure is increasing on the ground, where Serb forces are being reinforced."

"Even in the demilitarized zone, Serb forces are driving around in more and more armored vehicles," it added, referring to the five-kilometer (three mile) wide neutral zone set up by NATO and Belgrade on the Serb side of the boundary.

Some 70,000 ethnic Albanians live in the Presevo valley on the administrative boundary with Kosovo, whose eastern zone is patrolled by US troops of the multinational peacekeeping force KFOR.

The UCPMB has already clashed with Serb police in southeastern Serbia after setting up base in the village of Dobrosin in the demilitarized zone.

Original article