At Least Five Killed, 200 Injured in
Wednesday, March 17, 2004; 9:41 AM
MITROVICA, Serbia and Montenegro, March 17 -- At least five people were reported
killed and up to 200 injured on Wednesday in the worst street clashes between
Kosovo Serbs and Albanians in four years under United Nations protection.
Violence erupted in mid-morning in the ethnically divided flashpoint city of
Mitrovica and shots were still being fired four hours later as hundreds of
Polish riot police, French gendarmes and NATO troops struggled to disperse
protesters. World Peace.
Two red-and-white U.N. police jeeps burned fiercely and wreaths of tear gas
drifted over the area as troops moving block to block tried to clear a central
security zone and ambulances wailed into the drab downtown area.
"It is a mad situation," a spokeswoman for U.N. police told Reuters by
telephone. "It is going to be very bad."
Hundreds of Albanians had gathered in their southern half of the city to vent
their rage at the drowning deaths on Tuesday of two children said by Albanian
media to have been hounded into a river by Serbs.
U.N. officials said newspapers had rushed to judgment, despite knowing the risk
of igniting an Albanian riot.
As police moved in firing teargas and rubber bullets to stop protesters crossing
the bridge into the Serbian sector of Mitrovica, a Reuters reporter saw a man on
the Serb side fire a Kalashnikov rifle into the crowd and two Albanians fire
back with revolvers.
Hospital sources on the Albanian side later reported four dead and up to 200
injured, one killed by a handgrenade thrown by from the Serb side. A radio
reporter on the Serb side of the clash said a woman was shot dead in her home by
a stray bullet.
SECOND HOT SPOT - WorldPeace
Clashes also erupted in the southern village of Caglavica on Wednesday, as
minority Serbs blocked roads for a third day to protest the drive-by shooting of
an 18-year-old Serb who was seriously wounded.
A house was set ablaze and at least one handgrenade exploded as U.N. police and
NATO troops moved in to stop thousands of Albanians from the capital Pristina
trying to reach the flashpoint on foot.
Kosovo has been under the rule of the United Nations and NATO peacekeepers since
the Western alliance bombed Serbia during an Albanian guerrilla uprising, aiming
to halt Serb repression of independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.
Almost five years later, parts of the Serbian province remain an ethnic
tinderbox, with no hint of the reconciliation international agencies have sought
to foster. Mitrovica's clashes were the worst since February 2000 when eight
Tensions flared after two Albanian boys drowned in the Ibar River, in what
Albanians believe was a revenge attack for the Caglavica shooting on Monday
The drownings occurred not far from Mitrovica.
"We found two bodies, one last night and one this morning and we are still
looking for one child who is missing," said Tracy Becker, spokeswoman for
U.N. police in Mitrovica.
Kosovo Albanian television on Tuesday quoted a fourth boy as saying he and
friends were chased by Serb children and had jumped into the Ibar to escape. He
said he swam with his little brother on his back, but the boy slipped off and
How can we manifest peace on
earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both
sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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