Five Serb police injured in mine blast

BELGRADE, Jun 9, 2000 -- (Reuters) Five Serb police officers were injured on Thursday when their four-wheel-drive vehicle hit a landmine in a tense area of southern Serbia near Kosovo, the independent Beta news agency said.

Beta, quoting police sources, said the incident occurred near the village of Konculj in a predominantly ethnic Albanian district close to the administrative boundary with Serbia's Kosovo province, now under de facto international rule.

It said the blast took place around noon local time (1000 GMT) when the police were patrolling in a five-km (three-mile) security zone between Kosovo and Serbia proper.

They were transferred to a hospital in the southern town of Vranje. Beta did not say how serious the injuries were.

The area has seen an upsurge in violent incidents since Serb forces withdrew from Kosovo last June following NATO's 11-week bombing over Yugoslavia's repression of the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

An armed group called the Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation army, named after the three municipalities in the area, is said to be based in the village of Dobrosin on the Kosovo border. It is believed to have been involved in several clashes with Serb security forces.

Late last month, Belgrade accused what it called ethnic Albanian terrorists of mounting a mortar attack on a Serb police check point in the region.

Original article