Serb working for UN killed in Kosovo

PRISTINA, May 17, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Kosovo Serb working for the United Nations mission in Kosovo has been found stabbed to death near the capital city Pristina, the UN said on Tuesday.

The body of Petar Topoljski, 25, was recovered by UN police on Sunday and identified on Tuesday, police said in a statement. He had disappeared around a week earlier.

Since the UN and NATO-led peacekeepers took over responsibility for the Yugoslav province last June, Serbs have been the victims of numerous attacks by members of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority angry at years of Serb repression.

Bernard Kouchner, the head of the UN mission known as UNMIK which is charged with running Kosovo's civil affairs, condemned the killing and said he was committed to catching the murderers.

"This news is a terrible blow, not only to the family and friends of Mr Topoljksi, but also to all the staff at UNMIK," the former French cabinet minister said in a statement.

"We have tried to create the conditions of security for all our staff. But those intent on killing have found a way to their goal," he said

Kouchner paid tribute to his Serb staff for working "in spite of the threats and isolation which they must endure here".

Topoljski, who worked in the Pristina regional administration, is not the first member of the UN mission to be killed in Kosovo. A Bulgarian stuffer was shot dead in the city center last year, apparently after angering Albanians by speaking Serbian.

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