PRISTINA, Serbia, June 5, 2006 (AFP) -
Eighteen people from Albania and four from Kosovo were detained after being caught crossing into Serbia from the northern part of its UN-run province, police said Monday.
"Serbian authorities on Sunday handed over to Kosovo authorities 18 Albanian citizens and four of Kosovo's citizens", police spokesman Veton Elshani told AFP.
"They are being kept in the detention centre in Pristina. The public prosecutor charged Albania's citizens for illegal border crossing, while Kosovo's citizens were charged for smuggling of humans," he added.
It is assumed that four Kosovars helped the Albanians to cross illegally into Serbia, from were they planned to be transferred to western Europe.
The police did not unveil the ethnic origin of the locals, but the province's electronic media said they were Serbs.
"Three of the four local people are under age," Elshani said.
Kosovo is technically part of Serbia but has been a UN protectorate since NATO intervened militarily in 1999 to end a war between Serbian forces and separatist guerrillas from the province's ethnic Albanian majority seeking independence.