Killing of Serb prompts violent protest in Kosovo

PRISTINA, May 9, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Serb man who went fishing was found shot dead in eastern Kosovo, prompting other Serbs to block a road, throw rocks and set cars ablaze in protest, the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force said on Sunday.

The man's body was found near his home village of Klokot, in Kosovo's U.S.-led military sector, on Saturday evening with his fishing rod nearby, a KFOR spokesman said. The independent Serb news agency Beta, quoting Serb sources, said the victim was 67.

An angry crowd of around 100 Serbs gathered in the village, blocked a road and threw rocks at passing cars, said Captain Russell Berg, a press officer with the U.S. forces in Kosovo.

"A couple of the vehicles were stopped and the people in the cars fled," Berg said. The vehicles were set on fire, he said.

Since NATO and the United Nations took over responsibility for Kosovo last June, members of the province's Serb minority have been the victims of numerous attacks by ethnic Albanians angry at years of Serb repression.

U.S. soldiers responded to the protest and were reinforced by U.S. military police and officers from Kosovo's international civilian police force, Berg said. The situation calmed and the protesters began dispersing after about three hours, he said.

Several people had been injured, but apparently not seriously, as a result of the stone-throwing, Berg said. He had no reports of any injuries among KFOR personnel.

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