Serb Killed in Kosovo Shoot-Out
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ NATO peacekeepers fired toward a crowd of angry Serbs who lunged at them with axes and pitchforks during a violent protest Thursday, wounding a Serb in the leg, NATO said.
Dozens of radical Serbs brandished farm tools Thursday as they tried for the second day to break through a line of Swedish peacekeepers protecting a monastery where moderate Kosovo Serbs had taken refuge.
The moderates inside had decided to participate in Kosovo’s interim government, said Maj. Philip Anido. The protesters oppose the moderate Serb National Council’s Sunday decision to join the U.N.-led power-sharing body.
Anido did not identify the wounded man, who was taken to a Russian military field hospital in the nearby town of Kosovo Polje for treatment. No information on his condition was immediately available.
The shooting happened after a group of Serbs from the village of Gracnica, about 5 miles southeast of Pristina, gathered for the second day around the 16th-century Serb monastery in protest.
Serbs are expected to attend the first meeting of the interim government on March 12 as observers. The top U.N. official in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, will be present.
The shooting was the latest in a spate of incidents in which the NATO-led force has clashed with both Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the force’s effort to restore order to the southern Serbian province.