KPC besieges UN police HQ to free comrades

PRISTINA, Jul 10, 2000 -- (AFP) Kosovo's United Nations police force released two suspects after members of an unarmed emergency unit which employs many former separatist guerrillas besieged the police station in Pec Saturday, the UN police duty officer in Pristina told AFP.

UN police arrested on Saturday two members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), an unarmed emergency unit set up last year under an agreement to disband the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Andreas Hermenau said.

He declined to specify what the two men were originally suspected of.

Other KPC members sealed off the police station after the arrests and the UN agreed to release the two, who have not been named, following negotiations between the head of the KPC, Agim Ceku, and the UN police's deputy regional commander, the officer said.

"Two KPC members were arrested in the Decani area," Hermenau said, "But they have already been released."

"Negotiations were held between the KPC leader, Ceku, and the deputy regional commander. They somehow agreed that they would be released. Everything is calm now."

Meanwhile on the road south of Pec, ethnic Albanian protestors blocked roads near Decani and Streoc, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

A spokesman for the KFOR peacekeeping force's western brigade said the Albanians were protesting the arrest of three men, but he could give no other details.

On Saturday UN police investigating a gun and grenade attack on a house in Streoc, five kilometers (three miles) south of Pec in western Kosovo, were to question Ramush Haradinaj, the former deputy leader of the KPC.

Haradinaj is a 32-year-old former KLA regional commander who left the KPC to found his own political party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK).

On Saturday he was in a military hospital in Camp Bondsteel, the headquarters of US peacekeeping forces in eastern Kosovo, receiving treatment for injuries he received on Friday.

The AAK released a statement Saturday claiming that Haradinaj and his brother Daut Haradinaj had been injured in a "terrorist attack" on their car as they drove south from Pec.

But UN police spokesman Larry Guyton told AFP that an ethnic Albanian man had alleged Haradinaj was behind a gun and grenade attack on his house in the early hours of Friday morning.

The man told police that Haradinaj was one of a gang that attacked his house with an assault rifle and a grenade but fled after their target returned fire.

Guyton said Haradinaj would be questioned late Saturday and that investigators also planned to interview other suspects, "probably" including Daut Haradinaj.

Major Scott Slaten, KFOR's chief spokesman, said that Haradinaj's injuries were not life threatening and he was conscious, but that he was unlikely to be released from hospital on Saturday.

Original article