By George Jahn
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999
For fair use only
Published under the provision of
U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107.
* * *
PRISTINA, [Kosovo] -- A staffer working for the U.N. civilian mission in Kosovo was shot and killed after his first day on the job, apparently when he angered ethnic Albanians by speaking what sounded like Serbian, an international police official said today.
Valentin S. Krumov, 38, was shot Monday evening on the main street of the [Kosovo] capital, Pristina, on his way to dinner after arriving for duty earlier in the day. Lt. Col. Dmitry Kapotsev said he was attacked by a mob.
"It seems like he was speaking Serbian, maybe Bulgarian," Kapotsev said of Krumov, a Bulgarian national.
"A crowd of local citizens assaulted him," Kapotsev said. "He was taken by a mob ... and shot dead."
The victim was believed to be the first U.N. staffer killed since the United Nations began running Kosovo in June. He was shot just two days before U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan arrives Wednesday for his first visit to the province.
The chief U.N. administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, expressed outrage over the attack.
"Our staffers here, under trying circumstances, are devoting their lives to establish peace and rebuild Kosovo," he said in a prepared statement. "This innocent man who came here to help Kosovo to achieve a democratic way of life [sic!] was instead stopped by a crowd of thugs and an assassin's bullet."
...The incident reflected the high level of animosity that Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority feels toward Serbs [or Slavs, or anyone who is not Albanian] four months after the end of an 18-month crackdown by Serb forces. The crackdown aimed at ethnic Albanian separatists left 10,000 people dead
(NOT TRUE, later established to 2100 dead including victims of the bombings/ rem. Den Galna Serben)
It ended with a Serb military and police pullout in June after months of NATO bombing.
Neither the peacekeepers nor international police who arrived in August have been able to quell sporadic ethnic violence - much of it directed against the dwindling Serb minority [and all other non-Albanians] by ethnic Albanians...
Serbian, a Slavic language, could sound similar to other Slavic languages to those unfamiliar with it. A Polish police officer who asked to remain unidentified said he never speaks his own language because of concerns he could be targeted by ethnic Albanians mistaking it for Serbian. Ethnic Albanians themselves have reported receiving threats when speaking Serbo-Croatian with visiting friends from Croatia or Bosnia.
"There are few places in Kosovo now where the Serb language can be spoken freely," Yugoslavia's state-run Tanjug news agency said. "Ethnic cleansing, carried out by same methods as those in Nazi Germany, is underway in Kosovo."
Kapotsev said that with emotions running high and gun possession widespread among the Kosovo Albanian population, incidents like the shooting could be repeated "anywhere, anytime."
Krumov had arrived in Pristina on Monday from New York, U. N. officials said. He was shot near the Grand Hotel, where many employees of international organizations stay while working in Kosovo. Preliminary reports indicated that Krumov was attacked [anf lynched by the Albanian mob] after someone in the crowd had asked him in Serbian for the time.
A suspect escaped on foot, apparently helped by other local residents [the Albanians] crowding the street, police said.
U.N. officials said Krumov had a job in the civilian part of the U.N. mission in Kosovo - not in any military or police operation. He was in civilian clothes at the time of the shooting.
The U.N. police who are of Slavic descent warned not to use their native languages in Kosovo
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