British peacekeepers seize Kosovo weapons

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The Independent Online

British peacekeepers seized weapons and ammunition during a raid in an area that was the hotbed of ethnic Albanian resistance during Slobodan MIlosevic's Kosovo crackdown, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force said today.

British peacekeepers seized weapons and ammunition during a raid in an area that was the hotbed of ethnic Albanian resistance during Slobodan MIlosevic's Kosovo crackdown, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force said today.

The raid took place yesterday in the Drenica Valley about 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Pristina only three days before municipal elections, the first internationally supervised balloting in Kosovo's history.

Troops seized 13 hand grenades, 31 rocket propelled grenades, three boxes of ammunition, 400 rounds of various ammunition and two rocket launchers, according to Sgt. Steve Melbourne, a spokesman for the British peacekeeping contingent.

About 500 soldiers and officers from Britain and several other nations were involved in the operation, he said.

Nato-led peacekeepers and U.N. police have strengthened security measures in advance of the election. Voters will choose municipal council members in the province's 40 municipalities.

Kosovo's Serb community is expected to boycott the vote. Chief U.N. administrator Bernard Kouchner said he would appoint Serbs to councils in their areas.

The Democratic League of Kosovo, led by moderate ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, held its final campaign rally in Pristina on Wednesday, promising economic development, political stability and independence from Yugoslavia.

The Democratic Party of former Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci is expected to hold its final rally Thursday. No campaigning is allowed on Friday, the day before the polls open.

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