Kosovo gunmen attack swimming teenagers

Gunmen sprayed bullets on teenagers swimming in a Kosovo river today, killing at least one and injuring five others.

“The gunfire was directed against children swimming, and all those hit were youths,” said Derek Chappell, a UN police spokesman in Kosovo. Chappell said.

A Serb teenager died and four Serb teenagers and one ethnic Albanian girl were injured, some of them seriously, he added.

He did not confirm a report by Belgrade television that said two children had died, one on the scene and one en route to a hospital.

UN spokesman Andrea Angeli said the attackers had been hiding in the bush near the river.

“They were prepared and waiting for the youngsters,” he said, adding the attackers used AK-47 automatic rifles.

Belgrade’s independent B92 radio station identified one fatal victim as 18-year-old Milos Jovovic.

“The kids were swimming and playing on the beach when an attacker sneaked to about 50 yards from them and opened fire,” Ratko Manojlovic, a local Serb, told the radio.

Two of those injured were in serious condition and were set to be flown to a German military hospital for treatment, Angeli said.

The teenagers were swimming in the Bistrica River, near the ethnic Albanian village of Zahac which neighbours the Serb enclave of Gorazdevac.

The area is 50 miles from the provincial capital Pristina.

Nato’s top commander in Kosovo, General Lieutenant Fabio Mini, condemned the attack and called it “a bad signal for the possibility for Kosovo to achieve tolerance.”

“This is not Kosovo that we want,” he said.

Police had no suspects and had sealed off the area to investigate.

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations and Nato-led peacekeepers since June 1999, after the alliance’s 78 day bombing campaign halted Serb forces’ crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.

Since the war, Kosovo’s Serb minority has been targeted by ethnic Albanian extremists in revenge attacks for atrocities committed during the conflict.

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