Serb, Albanian leaders condemn deaths of three Serbs

PRISTINA, May 31, 2000 -- (AFP) Serb and ethnic Albanian leaders denounced on Tuesday the shooting deaths the day before of three Serbs in an ethnically mixed southeastern Kosovo village.

"The IAC (Interim Administrative Council) condemns in the strongest possible terms this and previous cowardly acts of violence against members of minority communities," the council said in a statement.

The council called upon all the people of Kosovo to "actively contribute to the co-existence of communities and to support the investigations of the police and KFOR in this and other similar acts."

Former Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci, Kosovo Democratic League chief Ibrahim Rugova and Unified Democratic Movement head Rexhep Qosja all participate in the interim council, presided by the UN's administrator for the province, Bernard Kouchner.

A suspected Albanian gunman shot and killed three Serbs, including a four-year-old child, and seriously wounded two others late Sunday when he opened fire on a group of Serbs standing outside a shop in the village of Cernica.

The suspect turned himself in to police Monday after fleeing the scene the night before.

The Serb National Council, based in Kosovska Mitrovica, accused the UN-led multinational peacekeeping force KFOR and the United Nations of being "unable and unwilling" to provide Serbs in Kosovo with adequate protection, according to the official Tanjug news agency.

Sunday's shooting was the latest in a rash of attacks on Kosovo Serbs, who have been the target of retaliatory violence since Serbian troops were forced out of Kosovo a year ago by NATO air strikes.

Original article