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Eight KFOR soldiers injured in Kosovo

RIA Novosti

18:14 20/10/2011 SARAJEVO, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Eight KFOR soldiers were reportedly slightly injured as they dismantled barricades blocking border crossings with Serbia in northern Kosovo, a spokesman for the international force said.

The barricades were put up by ethnic Serbs in mid-September to protest the presence of Albanian Kosovar customs officials at the border crossings.

The operation began on Thursday morning, after KFOR and Serbian representatives failed to reach an agreement to unblock the roads.

NATO troops fired tear gas to disperse Serbian protesters and succeeded in removing the roadblock outside Zubin Potok, 100 kilometers north of Pristina near the Brnjak border crossing with Serbia, and started to check all the cars passing through. At the same time, the number of Serbs manning barricades at the other border posts increased.

Serbian authorities have called on NATO to refrain from using force.

On Wednesday, the Serbs had agreed to partly unblock the roads for international soldiers pending the withdrawal of Albanian Kosovar police and customs officers from the border crossings.

Kosovo’s ethnic Serb enclave in the north of Kosovo barricaded the main roads after the authorities in Pristina installed customs officers at the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings with Serbia. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign country.

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