NATO starts clearing roadblocks in Kosovo

Kosovo Serbs block a road in the village of Rudare near Zvecan, July 30, 2011

From Nebi Qena, the AP:  NATO removed roadblocks put up by Serbs in Kosovo’s north, but barricades still remain following a week of violence that left one Kosovo policeman dead, a spokesman for the alliance said Monday.

Cpt. Hans Wichter said peacekeepers have removed three roadblocks made of gravel and tree trunks that stopped the force from accessing bases in the north. It is unclear how many remain, but NATO said there are least five on two roads at the Serbia border.

The roadblocks were put up in protest of a Kosovo police action to control two disputed crossings with Serbia. After police withdrew last week, a mob of Serb attackers set fire to one border post and fired on NATO peacekeepers sent to quell the violence. . . .

"There is still the threat of snipers and armed resistance from radical elements," Wichter told The Associated Press.

"They are armed with rifles, pistols and perhaps explosives."

An AP reporter witnessed Portuguese and Hungarian peacekeepers stopping ahead of a barricade manned by at least 200 Serbs.

The peacekeepers came under fire as they deployed to take over control of two border crossings. Traffic has since been closed for trucks, raising concerns that the Serb ethnic minority, which rejects all links with the Kosovo government, is running short on food supplies.  (photo: Reuters)

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