Serb police and ethnic Albanian rebels Tuesday reportedly clashed near Orahovac for a fourth day, and Albanian sources said at least 36 Albanians have died in fighting around the strategic town in central Kosovo.
Serb authorities escorted reporters to the southern edge of Orahovac on Monday to see weapons captured from the Kosovo Liberation Army, which attacked the town Saturday.The Serb escorts refused to allow reporters into the center of town, saying Albanian snipers were still firing at police. In the distance, smoke billowed from fires in the area, suggesting the conflict was not over.
Tuesday, the Kosovo Information Center, which is close to ethnic Albanian politicians, reported Serb forces were still shelling KLA positions in Orahovac and that fighting was also raging in outlying villages.
The center said at least 36 Albanians had been killed, including women and children.
Elsewhere, the Albanians claimed about 100 ethnic Albanians were detained in a police crackdown in Prizren, 45 miles south of Pristina.
The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said Albanian gunmen attacked lead and zinc mines 20 miles west of Pristina late Monday but were driven off by security guards.
None of the reports could be independently confirmed.
The fighting around Orahovac has cast doubt on the possibility of a negotiated settlement between Serbia, which dominates what remains of Yugoslavia, and the independence-minded Albanians who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population.
House-to-house battles in Orahovac forced as many as 25,000 residents from the town and its surroundings to the KLA-controlled town of Malisevo, 10 miles to the north, according to local media reports.
Serb police say as many as 600 KLA rebels tried to seize Orahovac, capturing and shutting down a power plant before moving on to the post office. The police forced them to flee by car or by foot.