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News ::
U.N. Policeman Assassinated in Kosovo (english)
04 Aug 2003
A sniper shot Satish Menon, 43, of India, on Sunday as the policeman traveled in a U.N. car. About 4,000 U.N. police officers patrol Kosovo alongside 5,000 local officers.
U.N. Policeman Killed in Attack in Kosovo
By Fisnik Abrashi, AP Writer, August 4, 2003

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - The first fatal shooting of a U.N. policeman in Kosovo has shifted attention from ethnic tensions in the U.N.-controlled province to the underworld figures thought responsible for his death.

A sniper shot Satish Menon, 43, of India, shortly before midnight on Sunday as the policeman traveled in a U.N. car near the village of Slatina, 30 miles north of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, police said. A British officer driving the car was not wounded.

U.N. police chief Stefan Feller condemned the "brutal and unbelievable crime .. on an international police officer by cowards who intended to kill him,'' but he stopped short of assigning blame. Menon is the first U.N. policeman murdered while on duty in Kosovo since the United Nations took control of the province four years ago.

Ethnically motivated violence in Kosovo - the scene of brutal fighting between Serb forces and ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999 - has diminished. But other violence continues to hamper U.N. efforts to normalize society.

Grenade attacks in recent weeks have targeted court buildings, police stations and squad cars after a ruling that found four former ethnic Albanian rebels guilty of war crimes. No one was injured in those assaults. U.N. authorities also have been cracking down on organized crime, which has plagued the economically depressed province.

The northern region of Kosovo, where Sunday's attack took place, is dominated by hard-line members of the Serb minority. The United Nations has been trying to reassert its authority there.

But the ambush occurred near several ethnic Albanian villages, which were sealed off after the attack by NATO-led peacekeepers and U.N. police. No official motive for the attack was established.

The top U.S. diplomat in Pristina linked the sniper assault to the grenade attacks and suggested "criminal elements'' were trying to derail the fight for law and order.

"This terrible crime is not only an attack on an international official ... but an attack on the rule-of-law and Kosovo's judicial institutions,'' said Marcie Reis, who heads the U.S. office in Kosovo.

Bajram Rexhepi, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian prime minister, also told The Associated Press that the attack was the work of "criminal elements'' that will use any method "to achieve their goal of destabilizing Kosovo.''

Nebojsa Covic, Serbia's deputy prime minister dealing with Kosovo, said the assassins "are recruited from organized crime and terrorist groups,'' apparently laying the blame on Kosovo Albanian underworld groups.

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations and NATO-led peacekeepers since June 1999, after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign forced an end to a crackdown on ethnic Albanian militants ordered by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. About 4,000 U.N. police officers now patrol Kosovo alongside 5,000 local officers.

Menon is survived by his wife and two children.
See also:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-2988884,00.html
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