CEOL
Serb crowds attack US KFOR soldiers in Kosovo

PRISTINA, May 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) Stone-throwing Serbs attacked U.S. soldiers of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo on Wednesday night, injuring one soldier, KFOR said on Thursday.

The attacks took place in Vrbovac near the southern town of Vitina.

"Two Serb crowds numbering between 200-300 people attacked KFOR U.S. peacekeepers, throwing stones and hurling insults and threats," KFOR said in a statement. "One soldier was injured and required stitches for lacerations."

In one of two incidents, a squad of U.S. military police was stoned as the unit responded to an explosion which destroyed an abandoned house, KFOR said. In the second, troops guarding a Serbian Orthodox church were surrounded and attacked.

KFOR said reinforcements moved into the area to calm the situation and that the crowds dispersed shortly after midnight local time (2200 GMT).

"My peacekeepers will continue to maintain a strong presence in Vrbovac to keep order and to protect and reassure the majority of the families who desire a normal, peaceful life," said KFOR commander Lieutenant-General Juan Ortuno.



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