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Kosovo Police Discount VOA Reporter's Story of Attack

Kosovo police say they believe that a longtime reporter for the Serbian Service of the Voice of America made a false report when she said she had been assaulted and beaten earlier this month.

The Serbian news agency Tanjug quotes a Kosovo police spokesman, Veton Elshani, as saying the case of Vesna Bojicic will be brought before a relevant court. He said witnesses had seen the journalist in a Gracanica nightclub that evening and at the scene of a traffic accident the following morning.

The journalist told VOA a masked man in a camouflage uniform forced his way into a Pristina apartment and started beating her. She said he made threats alluding to her VOA reports.

Officials of VOA's Serbian Service say the journalist told them Kosovo's ethnic Albanian police had refused to handle her previous complaints. She said she does not trust them and would not agree to an interview with them. She instead had asked that international police handle her case.

Voice of America Director Danforth Austin has expressed concern over Bojicic's welfare. He called her a reliable and thorough reporter and says it is deplorable that journalists face such dangers.

Kosovo - a Serbian province - and its large ethnic Albanian majority are demanding independence. Serbia and its Russian allies strongly oppose an independent Kosovo. U.S., EU, and Russian mediated talks on Kosovo's future have made little progress.