PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Dec 4 (AFP) -
The head of the United Nations operation in Kosovo ordered police to increase security measures throughout the province after unidentified attackers fired on a bus overnight, a statement said Sunday.
The order came after a bus carrying 11 passengers travelling from the southern Kosovo town of Dragas to the Serbian capital Belgrade was hit by a projectile late Saturday, the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) chief's Soren Jessen-Petersen said in a statement.
The projectile, fired from the roadside, struck the middle of the bus and landed in the passenger area without exploding. No one was injured in the attack and NATO-led peacekeepers removed the projectile, the UN said.
Jessen-Petersen condemned the attack and "directed that security measures across Kosovo be enhanced to ensure that a safe and secure environment is maintained during the ongoing status process" talks on the future of the disputed province.
He said that such incidents "demonstrate that, during the status process which has just begun, isolated individuals or groups who do not have Kosovo's best interests in mind may attempt to disrupt Kosovo's way forward for their own ulterior motives."
"Such provocations must not be tolerated," he said, adding that "such ill-intentioned individuals must be isolated, identified and brought to justice."
In Belgrade, top Serbian leaders warned that the growing number of incidents against minority Serbs in Kosovo would have serious consequences on status talks.
Kosovo Albanians were "increasing their pressure against the Serb community by resorting to explosions, shootings and stoning of houses", said Serbian President Boris Tadic in a statement.
Tadic appealed to international forces in Kosovo to be "more cautious" and provide security for all citizens of the Serbian breakaway province, administered by the UN and NATO since 1999.
And Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called on the UN envoy on Kosovo status talks, Martti Ahtisaari, to comment on the upsurge of violence against the Serbs in Kosovo.
"We must put an end to this violence against Serbs once and for all, and this is the first obligation that the international community must fulfill," said Kostunica.
Ethnic Albanians, who outnumber Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo by more than nine to one, are demanding the right to break away from Serbia, which the government in Belgrade and its people firmly oppose.
Ahtisaari began the process to define a future status for Kosovo by shuttling among Balkan countries on November 21. Direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina are expected early next year.