Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I'm beginning to suspect that we've been neglecting the Balkans, having put our focus on "fighting terrorism" elsewhere. Also from the New York Times:

Pedrag Antic and several other villagers said the United Nations police officers and the Moroccan patrol did nothing to stop the mob but drove parallel to it as the young men threw Molotov cocktails, set more buildings on fire and fired guns.

A regional commander of the United Nations police said his unit fired 7 to 10 shots to ward off the group.

The mixed convoy of police and military vehicles drew to a halt several hundred yards into the village, ahead of the mob, forming a roadblock. Villagers said the youths began to pull back.

Meanwhile, as a precaution, soldiers arranged for the village's women and children to be taken to the French base, Camp Belvedere. But then the soldiers told the villagers that they could not defend the village, and that every one would have to leave.

Svinjare had been reinforced by then, according to the United Nations police and the peacekeeping force, with an additional 20 soldiers and 50 Polish antiriot police officers.

"We asked them if they could secure us, but they were trying to convince us they were not able, because they had to go elsewhere," Pedrag Antic said.

The decision to evacuate was taken by the French general responsible for Northern Kosovo, Gen. Xavier Michel, Lieutenant Mabin said, because the French forces were needed elsewhere. He said he did not know where.

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