Hundreds of ethnic Albanians watched early Monday as a mob dragged a Serbian man and two Serbian women from their car, beat all three and fatally shot the man during a night of festivities celebrating Kosovo’s biggest holiday.
NATO peacekeepers sped to the scene in downtown Pristina shortly after midnight, finding that the car had been overturned and set on fire. United Nations police found the women lying on the ground, screaming for help.
The commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Kosovo, German Gen. Klaus Reinhardt, condemned the attack, declaring that such acts endangered any hope of developing democracy in a province struggling to overcome a war and a decade of oppression.
“Nobody around them dared to intervene,” Reinhardt said. “I’m appalled at what happened here.”
Also deploring the attack, the leaders of Kosovo’s Serbian minority called for more protection for non-Albanians in the province.
Thousands of revelers had packed the streets of Pristina, the provincial capital, late Sunday and early Monday, shooting off guns and firecrackers to celebrate Kosovo’s first Flag Day since the ouster of Serbian forces loyal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Reinhardt appealed to the hundreds of witnesses to come forward and bring the attackers to justice.
The Serbian man killed in the mob attack was identified as Dragoslav Basic, 62. He died from bullet wounds while on the way to a nearby hospital, the independent Beta news agency said.
Basic’s wife, Dragica, and mother-in-law, Borka Jovanovic, were severely injured in the incident, suffering fractures at the base of the skull and concussions, Beta said. They remained hospitalized Monday.