Kosovo Albanian held for 1999 killing of 14 Serbs

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PRISTINA, Serbia, Oct 16 (Reuters) United Nations police in Kosovo arrested an ethnic Albanian man today on suspicion of involvement in one of the worst revenge massacres following a Serb campaign of repression, police said.

The man, whom police declined to name, is wanted in connection with the killing of 14 Serb farmers who were ambushed and gunned down at close range as they harvested grain in the village of Staro Gracko in July 1999.

Weeks earlier, NATO had bombed Kosovo to end a Serb campaign to put down a rebellion and kill or drive out the 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority.

The withdrawal of Serb forces and the installation of a UN administration were followed by a wave of revenge attacks by Albanians against the minority Serbs.

Today, a local Kosovo Serb radio station said masked officers of a UN special police unit had entered the village of Veliki Alas near the central town of Lipljan at 1130 hrs IST and arrested an ethnic Albanian man on his way to work.

''UN police, Kosovo police and [NATO-led peace force] KFOR are still searching for weapons in the village,'' said Kosovo police spokesman Veton Elshani. ''The man arrested is from Veliki Alas, near the village where these people were killed.'' Kosovo's Albanian majority are demanding rapid independence with Western backing, but are opposed by Serbia and Russia.

REUTERS GL PM1655

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