Now the Serbs dig out their dead in Kosovo

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Dragica Besovic and her sister-in-law were back in Kosovo last week on a sad and macabre mission: to dig up their dead relatives and rebury them by her new home in Serbia.

Dressed in black and deeply wrinkled, Besovic fled Kosovo in 1999. Fear drove the 77-year-old Serb away, but it also drew her back -- fear that if the mostly ethnic Albanian province gains independence as expected later this year, Serb-haters will unearth her relatives' remains and scatter the bones.

Dozens of Serb families are exhuming their dead, reflecting the deep mistrust and unhealed scars of war that bedevil Western efforts to forge a multiethnic society in Kosovo...

[On Tuesday ] the U.N. Security Council is expected to review a proposal to grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence -- a roadmap bitterly opposed by Serbia, which regards the province as the cradle of its nationhood.

Most of Kosovo's Serbs fled after NATO bombing stopped Slobodan Milosevic's brutal 1998-99 crackdown on separatists. An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed, more than 1 million lost their homes, and 2,000 are still missing.

When the war ended, some Albanians sought to avenge their dead by targeting Serbs. About 200,000 Serbs and other minorities fled, and only about 100,000 remain, most in small, isolated enclaves.

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