CEOL
Kosovo ex-rebel injured in fight with KFOR

PRISTINA, May 24, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Kosovo Albanian guerrilla commander-turned-politician was injured on Tuesday after attacking a Russian soldier, the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in the province said.

The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon after Russian soldiers and international police at a checkpoint in western Kosovo stopped a car carrying Ramush Haredinaj and three other people. They found his weapons permit had expired, KFOR said.

Soldiers temporarily detained the four and searched the car, finding and confiscating two weapons. Haredinaj attempted to flee the scene near the town of Malisevo and attacked a Russian soldier trying to remove one of his weapons, KFOR said.

"This attempt failed when KFOR Military Police and soldiers subdued Haradinaj," KFOR spokesman Major Scott Slaten said in a statement. "Unfortunately, he was slightly injured during the altercation but was immediately given first aid treatment."

Haradinaj was one of the most prominent commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army which waged a guerrilla campaign against Serb rule. He recently set up a new grouping called the Alliance, bringing together several existing political parties.

KFOR said Haradinaj had been initially treated at a Russian base in Malisevo. He had then requested additional treatment and was flown by helicopter to the provincial capital Pristina where he was examined and discharged a short time later.

A KFOR source said Haradinaj had suffered minor cuts and bruises to the face and chest.



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