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Turkish Soldier Killed in Kosovo

September 23, 1999

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A Turkish peacekeeper was killed and five German soldiers were injured in two separate incidents in southwest Kosovo, a spokesman said today.

The Turkish soldier was killed Wednesday when an unidentified ordinance exploded in the Turkish camp, said German Staff Sgt. Stefan Pawlitschek of the NATO headquarters in Prizren. No further details were available.

The Germans were injured when a member of a foot patrol stepped on a land mine Wednesday near the Albanian border 12 miles west of Prizren. As patrol tried to rescue the injured soldier, a second German trooper stepped on another mine, also suffering serious injuries. Three others were slightly injured.

NATO-led peacekeepers have been deployed in Kosovo since June 12, following a peace agreement that ended the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, intended to halt a harsh Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the province.

Despite the presence of the peacekeepers, however, the province is plagued by ethnically motivated violence.

The bodies of a Serb man and his son were found Wednesday in a car near the eastern city of Gnjlane, NATO said today. Another Serb was seriously injured in a grenade attack in the central Serb village of Lipljan on Wednesday, the alliance said.

An Albanian man who has been missing for two days was found dead with a gunshot wound on Wednesday in eastern Kosovo, NATO said. Two Serbs were arrested in the death.

In the provincial capital Pristina, peacekeepers found the body of an unidentified 50-year-old man, the alliance said. Another unidentified body was found dead near Kosovo’s border with Albania.

Despite such near-daily incidents, the United Nations is insisting that a multiethnic society is its goal in Kosovo. That task has become even more difficult since the decision to establish a civilian corps under the command of the former ethnic Albanian rebel chief and the decision by Serbs to resign from an advisory council.

Serb community leaders walked out of the council to protest the agreement between NATO and U.N. officials to transform the Kosovo Liberation Army into a civilian Kosovo Protection Corps, which the ethnic Albanians hope will be the first step toward the national army of a Kosovo independent of Yugoslavia.

The commander of the new corps, Agim Ceku, was the military chief of the KLA, and his regional commanders are expected to hold key positions in the new organization.

``The international community wants to solve Kosovo’s problems on an ethnic basis, and by forming this Kosovo Corps, it’s over with multiethnic Kosovo,″ Serb delegate Momcilo Trajkovic told reporters after resigning Wednesday.

Ethnic Albanian leaders have been hailing the establishment of the corps as a major step toward their goal of a national army and a major step toward the ultimate goal of independence.

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