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Kosovo Quiet As NATO Reinforcements Arrive

Pristina, 20 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Kosovo is reportedly quiet today, after several days of violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians that has left at least 30 people dead and hundreds more injured.

NATO commander Admiral Gregory Johnson yesterday said rioting, arson, and attacks in the Serbian province must be brought to a halt soon before they turn into full-scale ethnic cleansing.

Seven NATO member countries are sending 2,000 reinforcements to assist the 18,000-strong NATO-led stabilization force in Kosovo, which is effectively a UN protectorate.

UN police spokesman Derek Chappell says 112 Serbian homes and 16 churches have been burned since the violence started on 17 March in the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica after unconfirmed reports that Serbs had chased three ethnic Albanian boys into a river, where they drowned.

Almost 1,000 Serbs have fled their homes for NATO camps in the past days. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Serbia yesterday against the violence.

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