Shooting of Serb couple blow to security

PRISTINA, Jun 22, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Kosovo Serb couple were shot and seriously wounded in a central Pristina street in the first such incident in the Kosovo capital for months, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) said on Wednesday.

The shooting on Tuesday night coincided with the visit of Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal for Kosovo.

It was seen as a serious setback to the security situation in the capital, now predominantly ethnic Albanian and which has seen a gradual relaxation of tensions in recent weeks.

United Nations Special Representative Bernard Kouchner, in effect the governor of the province, now a UN protectorate, organized a visit to the scene of the shooting, ironically on Mother Teresa Street, accompanied by del Ponte and all the members of the inter-ethnic Kosovo Transitional Council which he heads.

After laying flowers at the spot, surrounded by extraordinary security, Kouchner told reporters: "This is a crime - a murder attempt by terrorists. We are considering ways to improve the security of the people but this will not be done just by the police but by a change of behavior.

"I am here with Madame del Ponte and all the members of the KTC to express our outrage and.We want to say together 'stop the violence' (let there be) justice, tolerance, freedom and democracy."

A KFOR spokesman had few details of the shooting or even of how many attackers had carried it out.

The Serb couples, who have not been named, were taken to the British KFOR hospital in Pristina.

KFOR said the man had three bullet wounds in his leg while the woman had been hit in the chest and the stomach. Both were now in stable condition.

Original article