2 NATO Soldiers, 3 Kosovo Serbs Wounded in Clashes

Posted June 1st, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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Two NATO soldiers and at least three Kosovo Serb civilians have been wounded in clashes between troops and a crowd trying to prevent the soldiers from removing barricades in tense northern Kosovo.

The clashes took place Friday in a Serb-dominated area near the town of Zvecan.

Witnesses say NATO-led troops in armored personnel carriers tried to take away roadblocks set up by Serbs, before protesters confronted the troops and pelted them with stones. The soldiers responded by firing rubber bullets.

NATO's mission in Kosovo condemned the violence. A spokesman said the mission will not allow the situation to escalate and will use a “proportional level of force” to maintain a safe and secure environment.

Kosovo's minority Serbs reject the country's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and have vowed not to let Kosovo's authorities impose their rule in the north.

The Serbs set up roadblocks to prevent the ethnic Albanian government from extending control over the region. Some of those roadblocks have been removed, but others remain in place.