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Yugoslavia: Kosovo Bloodshed Worst In Months; Refugees Flood Albania


Pristina, 1 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Serb and ethnic Albanian sources in Kosovo say weekend violence has resulted in the worst bloodshed in the Serbian province since March. The reports follow the launching of a military crackdown in Kosovo by Serb forces three days ago. The semi-official Serb media center in Pristina said today that "several dozen" ethnic Albanians were killed by Serb police in response to an earlier attack by separatists. The ethnic Albanians reported at least 33 people killed.

Ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova's party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, issued a statement today alleging that in one incident, six men were shot after being forced out of their homes by Serb police.

The statement says other villagers were forced to flee when police set fire to about 20 houses near the border with Albania. The report has not been independently confirmed. Meanwhile, Rugova is scheduled to meet United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today in New York.

In Tirana, authorities say they are now seeing the biggest influx of refugees since hostilities erupted in Kosovo earlier this year. Tirana officials say more than 1,000 Kosovars crossed into Albania in the last 24 hours to escape fighting at their border villages.

Meanwhile in Montenegro, the coalition led by President Milo Djukanovic was named winner in the weekend's parliamentary elections. Djukanovic told a crowd in the capital of Podgorica that support for his reformist coalition amounts to a "great" victory.

In an apparent reference to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Djukanovic said Montenegro has shown "the wisdom, courage and resolve" to resist those who want to "enslave" it.

Election officials say that with three-fourths of the vote counted, Djukanovic's coalition looks set to take a majority of seats in the Montenegrin parliament. Momir Bulatovic, an ally of Milosevic, won about 34 percent of the vote. Bulatovic's Socialist People's Party says it will recognize the results as fair.
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