CEOL
Three Serb policemen wounded in mortar attack near Kosovo

VRANJE, Jul 19, 2000 -- (AFP) Three Serb policemen were wounded Monday night in a mortar attack on their checkpoint in Konculj, a village in the security zone on Serbia's southeast boundary with Kosovo, a magistrate said Tuesday.

More than 30 mortar rounds were fired against the checkpoint, causing no serious material damage, said Slavoljub Mihailovic, the investigating judge in Vranje, the region's administrative center.

One of the wounded policemen was transferred to the military hospital in Belgrade while the two others were released after treatment, the judge added.

The scene of the attack is close to the village of Dobrosin, the stronghold of an ethnic Albanian armed separatist group named "The Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac" (UCPMB), named after three towns located just outside Kosovo and home to about 70,000 Albanians.

The presence of the UCPMB in the security zone has been severely condemned by the international community.

Clashes between the ethnic Albanian separatists and the police have already left several people dead and dozens wounded.

On July 8, three mortar shells were fired at the same Serb police checkpoint in Konculj.

A month earlier, five Serb policemen were wounded, one of them seriously, by an anti-tank landmine planted by "Albanian terrorists" near Bujanovac, the police said.

The five-kilometer (three-mile) Ground Security Zone was installed under the terms of a military-technical accord signed by Belgrade and NATO in June 1999, following the Atlantic alliance's 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia.

Only local Serb police are allowed to patrol the area, often called the "demilitarized zone".



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