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Wednesday, March 10, 1999 Published at 16:32 GMT

World: Europe

Refugees trapped by Kosovo fighting

Hundreds of refugees are trying to find an escape route from the fighting

By Jacky Rowland in Pristina

United Nations refugee workers in Kosovo say about 400 people trapped by fighting near the Macedonian border on Tuesday are now trying to make their way to the main town in the area, Kacanik.

Kosovo Section
The aid workers say they have informed the Serbian authorities that they are sending trucks to try to collect these latest people who have fled their homes, but the aid workers said it was difficult to get access to this area by road.

In general, the Kacanik area was said to be quiet on Wednesday, although there are unconfirmed reports of fighting in the village of Ivaje.

[ image: Days on the road are beginning to take their toll]
Days on the road are beginning to take their toll
Journalists in the area said police had sealed off the village and they were unable to establish what was happening inside.

Of about 400 refugees who arrived in Kacanik on Tuesday, most have now been housed. Some are staying with local families while others have been accommodated in a school in the nearby village of Bob.

When the refugees came down from the hills, Serbian police separated the men from the women and children.

About 100 were taken to the local police station for questioning.

Serbian police said this was normal procedure in their search for suspected members of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.

Aid workers who went to the police station said they could hear screaming coming from inside.

Most of the men have now been released, although police are still reported to be holding between 20 and 30 people.

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