October 10, 2007 / 3:26 PM / 12 years ago

UN Kosovo mission evacuated after bomb scare

(Updates with confirmation of false alarm)

PRISTINA, Serbia, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The main building of the United Nations mission in Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province was partially evacuated on Wednesday after a bomb scare.

NATO peacekeepers carried out a controlled explosion on the underside of a U.N. police vehicle at the entrance to the U.N. compound, after security guards spotted a suspect object.

"It was a false alarm," said Kosovo police spokesman Veton Elshani.

Police had cordoned off streets around the mission that has run Kosovo since 1999, when NATO expelled Serb forces accused of the ethnic cleansing of Albanian civilians while fighting separatist guerrillas.

The 16,000-strong NATO peace force and the U.N. mission are on high alert. The Albanian majority is growing increasingly frustrated with the West’s stalled bid to grant the territory independence in the face of Serbian and Russian opposition.

Some in the province have turned against U.N. authorities, blaming them for the political limbo that has kept Kosovo in poverty. In 2005, a bomb exploded in the car park of the U.N. building, destroying several cars and shattering windows.

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