Elderly Serb couple badly beaten in apparent ax attack in Kosovo

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - An elderly Serb couple were
repeatedly stabbed and beaten with blunt objects Monday, officials said, in
an attack that threatened to further inflame tensions between Kosovo's Serb
minority and ethnic Albanian majority. 

Nedeljko and Nevenka Vucic, 71 and 73, were attacked outside their home in
the village of Crkolez, some 50 kilometers northwest of province's capital
Pristina, said Aleksandar Bozovic, the doctor at the hospital in
Serb-dominated Kosovska Mitrovica, where they were treated. 

U.N. police spokesman Larry Miller also confirmed the attack. 

The woman's injuries were life threatening and the condition of the man -
who was undergoing surgery - was not immediately clear, Bozovic said. 

Photos of the badly beaten couple were aired in Serbia's national
television. 

"Their injuries were inflicted with a sharp object, most probably a knife or
an ax,'' Bozovic said. He said they were also beaten with a "blunt object''
on their arms and legs. 

The man suffered from concussions, was stabbed around his spine, had his
ribs broken and his right ear cut off, Bozovic said. The woman suffered head
injuries, concussions and chest fractures, Bozovic added. 

The couple lived with another 160 Serbs in the village of Crkolez, which is
surrounded by ethnic Albanian villages. 

Tensions remain high between ethnic Albanian majority and the remaining Serb
minority in the province. The community has been often a target of attacks
by ethnic Albanian extremists seeking revenge for the wartime killings by
Serb forces. 

The province has been administered by the United Nations since mid-1999.
International officials have been trying to reconcile the two former foes as
part of the deal to move the province to status talks possibly as early as
this fall. 

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority wants independence, while Serbs want it to
remain part of Serbia-Montenegro.-AP 


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