Published: September 11, 2005
PRISTINA, Kosovo, Sept. 10 (Reuters) - A Kosovo Serb policeman was wounded when his car was ambushed and fired on late Friday, the United Nations police force said.
The attack happened in a region where two Serb men were shot and killed two weeks ago.
The latest attack took place shortly before midnight on the main road near the Serb region of Strpce in southern Kosovo, the mainly ethnic Albanian province that is administered by the United Nations.
A statement by the United Nations police force said the officer's car "was ambushed and fired upon by unknown armed suspects."
The brother of the wounded officer said the man had been hit in the back and leg and had been taken to a nearby United States military base, Camp Bondsteel. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.
One police official said two other Serb policemen had been in the car but escaped unhurt.
The car was attacked near a memorial to ethnic Albanian guerrillas killed in the 1998-99 war with Serb forces. The memorial was damaged Thursday in an explosion, but the United Nations police commissioner, Kai Vittrup, said that it was not clear if the incidents were related and that the police were "reinforcing security measures" in the area.
Kosovo, which is legally part of Serbia, has been run by the United Nations since 1999 when NATO bombing drove out Serb forces accused of atrocities in a war on separatist rebels.
Thousands of Serbs fled after the conflict, and those who stayed became frequent targets of violence here.
The attack on Friday night took place several miles from the site of a drive-by shooting on Aug. 28 in which two Serb men were killed, shattering a yearlong lull in attacks involving Serbs.
United Nations police officials have declined to speculate on possible motives for the attacks. But Serb leaders in Belgrade blame ethnic Albanian extremists pushing for independence from Serbia in negotiations expected to begin this year.
A United Nations envoy is within weeks of submitting a report to Secretary General Kofi Annan on whether Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership has made enough progress on democracy and minority rights for those talks to begin, possibly next month.
The Serbian government in Belgrade says the 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians make up 90 percent of the population, are under threat, and it has called for the talks to be delayed.