NATO Peacekeepers Arrest Guerrillas, Seize Arms on Kosovo Border

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

British and US peacekeepers arrested 13 suspected guerrillas and seized a large arms shipment on Kosovo's tense frontier with Serbia-proper Wednesday, NATO spokesman Major Steven Shappell said. 

Just after midnight (2330 GMT) the joint patrol stopped a convoy of two jeeps and two tractors heading for the boundary near Surlane, an village in the far southeast of Kosovo, and detained the occupants, he said. 

The convoy was carrying two rocket-propelled grenade launchers with 30 grenades, 50 hand grenades, eight anti-tank mines, eight machine guns, assault rifles and ammunition, he said. 

Uniforms and maps of the disputed Presevo valley area were also discovered, he added. 

The 13, suspected members of the ethnic Albanian rebel group the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB), have been detained in the main US military base in Kosovo, Cmap Bondsteel, Shappell said. 

The British troops involved in the seizure were deployed to the frontier as reinforcements for the US soldiers on Monday, as part of an operation to close rebel supply routes from Kosovo into southern Serbia. 

The UCPMB has dubbed the Presevo valley "Eastern Kosovo" and aims to unite it and its largely ethnic Albanian population with Kosovo, which it hopes will become independent of Yugoslav rule -- PRISTINA (AFP)  



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