Belgian troops held in Kosovo


Pristina - Belgian peacekeepers caught up in weekend rioting in Kosovo were held prisoner by Serbs for three hours and lost weapons and ammunition, a NATO spokesman said yesterday.

Six Belgian troops from Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeeping force and a civilian employee were surrounded by about 200 protesters and forced from three vehicles on Saturday during protests in the Kosovo Serb town of Leposavic, 30 miles north of Pristina.

"They were released after the Belgian commander negotiated with the crowd," Maj Steven Shappell, chief spokesman for the Kfor force, said. "They also lost two rifles and 150 rounds of ammunition."

In Saturday's rioting, which was provoked by the arrest of a Serb motorist by civilian police, two Serbs died, one from gunshot wounds, the other of a heart attack.