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Kosovo: Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs Announce Exodus To Serbia

Belgrade, 8 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Hundreds of Serbs living in Kosovo announced today they plan to leave the province in fear of ethnically motivated attacks. The independent Serbian Beta news agency said a group of about 400 Serbs from the village of Obilic told authorities in Belgrade they plan to leave Kosovo.

The announcement came after three Serbs in Obilic were hacked to death and their house was set on fire last week. The attack was unanimously condemned by UN, Serbian, and ethnic Albanian officials in Kosovo.

The Serbs from Obilic said NATO-led KFOR troops are not doing enough to protect them. A KFOR spokesman, Finnish Major Asko Tanhuapaa, said the force had increased patrolling and introduced temporary checkpoints in Obilic following the 4 June attack.

The Obilic Serbs also demanded that Belgrade authorities set up a tent camp for them in central Serbia. Deputy Serbian Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic urged them not to leave their homes saying that would play into the hands of ethnic Albanian extremists.