Skip to comments.Gunmen kill two in Kosovo ambush, three injured-UN
Posted on 04/14/2003 4:23:10 PM PDT by joan
PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, April 14 (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a Kosovo Albanian family travelling by car on Monday, killing two people including a prosecution witness in a recent trial against former guerrillas.
U.N. police said they did not know who carried out the attack, in which a four-year-old boy and two others were wounded, on a small road near the western town of Pec, nor the motive.
One of those killed, 24-year-old Ilir Selimaj, was a witness in a high-profile trial late last year against five members of the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the guerrilla army that battled Serb forces in 1998-99.
Another prosecution witness was shot dead in Pec in January -- less than a month after a Kosovo court jailed the ex-rebels for a total of 31 years for abducting and beating four fellow Albanians who subsequently disappeared, presumed murdered.
The trial, which took place under heavy security in the provincial capital Pristina, was one of Kosovo's most sensitive court cases since the 1999 war.
Monday's attack was one of the gravest acts of violence this year in Kosovo, whose ethnic Albanian leaders are striving to assert the rule of law in order to win Western backing for their independence drive.
A U.N. official at the scene told Reuters by phone that the car was riddled with 20 bullets.
The boy and his 14-year-old sister were wounded but their condition was described as stable. Their mother died in the attack but their father survived. Ilir Selimaj was the man's nephew.
Kosovo was placed under U.N.-led administration in the summer of 1999 after three months of NATO air strikes to halt Serbian repression under Slobodan Milosevic, ousted by reformers in 2000 and now standing trial at the U.N. war crimes court.
Why they still tip-toe around the KLA, I can not understand.