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Updated: 5 August 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

2 July 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Jan Joosten

  • GOOD MORNING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…

  • I WOULD LIKE TO START TODAY WITH THE OPERATIONAL UPDATE.

  • THERE HAS BEEN BROAD COMPLIANCE THROUGHOUT KOSOVO BY THE UCK. IN ONE AREA SEVEN TRUCKLOADS OF WEAPONS HAVE BEEN COLLECTED FROM THE UCK. AT ORAHOVAC, 136 MORE WEAPONS WERE HANDED IN YESTERDAY WITH THE LOCAL UCK COMMANDER CLAIMING THAT 100% OF UCK WEAPONS IN THAT AREA ARE IN KFOR HANDS.
  • THERE ARE, HOWEVER, SOME ISOLATED INSTANCES OF NON-COMPLIANCE OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS WHICH HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED BY KFOR. IN MNB WEST, 10 FORMER UCK HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN PEC DURING THE LAST 48 HOURS. IT SEEMS THAT THEY WERE ISOLATED ELEMENTS THAT COULDN'T RECEIVE ORDERS BECAUSE OF COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS IN THE AREA. AT MIDDAY, 5 VJ - UNIFORMED AND ARMED - WERE ARRESTED INSIDE KOSOVO IN THE AREA OF NOVAKOKA CUKA. THEY WERE ARRESTED AND DETAINED BY SOLDIERS OF MNB EAST, AND AN EXPLANATION IS BEING SOUGHT FROM THE VJ AS A MATTER OF URGENCY. THESE ARRESTS REFLECT KFOR'S FIRMNESS IN ITS EFFORTS TO STAMP OUT ANY INCIDENTS OF NON COMPLIANCE BY EITHER SIDE.

  • KFOR WILL CONTINUE IN ITS EFFORTS TO DEFEND LAW AND ORDER, HAVING ARRESTED A NUMBER OF PEOPLE FOR LOOTING IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS. IN VITINA, 13 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED BY MEMBERS OF MNB EAST AFTER A US APACHE HELICOPTER FILMED THEM LOOTING. ANOTHER 15 CIVILIANS WERE ALSO ARRESTED BY 9 PARACHUTE SQN RE IN LIPLJAN FOR LOOTING. AROUND MIDNIGHT LAST NIGHT, IN MNB SOUTH, A DUTCH PATROL IN ORAHOVAC, ARRESTED 6 SERBS WHO WERE IN POSSESSION OF WEAPONS AND COMPUTER EQUIPMENT.

  • KFOR TROOPS HAVE A ROBUST AND EVEN- HANDED APPROACH TO ALL THEIR ACTIVITIES IN KOSOVO. WE ARE DETERMINED TO SECURE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE NO ONE SHOULD LIVE IN FEAR. KFOR WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY CRIMINAL ACTS THAT WE MAY ENCOUNTER. INNOCENT CIVILIANS OF ALL ETHNICITIES IN KOSOVO HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH. IT IS TIME TO REBUILD KOSOVO AND WORK TOWARDS A SECURE FUTURE.

  • THE NEWLY APPOINTED JUDGES - WHO WERE ONLY SWORN IN ON WEDNESDAY - WILL TODAY HEAR THEIR FIRST CASES. THIS MARKS A WATERSHED IN THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF A NORMAL CIVILIAN JUDICIAL PROCESS IN KOSOVO. THE REVIEW OF KFOR DETAINEES WILL START WITH 5 BRIGADE TODAY. THIS PROCESS HAS STARTED AND THE INVESTIGATING JUDGE, TOGETHER WITH A PROSECUTOR AND DEFENCE LAWYER, WILL NOW REVIEW ALL DETENTIONS IN KFOR BRIGADES.
  • THERE ARE A NUMBER OF REPORTED SITES WHERE THE ICTY IS INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE WAR CRIMES. 140 BODIES HAVE BEEN FOUND IN NOGAVAC AND CELINE. THE MNB SOUTH ARE IN CLOSE COOPERATION WITH THE ICTY AND HAVE SECURED MUCH OF THE AREA. ASSISTANCE TO THE ICTY IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF KFOR'S MISSION AND WE TAKE A PROACTIVE STANCE IN THIS ROLE.

  • KFOR SOLDIERS WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE AS MANY SERVICES AS WE CAN WHILST FULFILLING OUR MISSION. ON WEDNESDAY, A SMALL GIRL WAS MEDEVACED BY THE MNB SOUTH TO PRIZREN HOSPITAL WITH A BRAIN HEMORRHAGE. THE BRIGADE HAS ALSO BEEN PAYING THE WAGES OF THE PRIZREN FIRE DEPARTMENT.
  • ALL THE BRIGADES CONTINUE TO SEND A MEDICAL PRESENCE INTO THE COMMUNITY
  • THE MNB WEST OF ITALIANS AND SPANISH TROOPS CONTINUE IN THEIR PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS. ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, A PLATOON SAVED AN ELDERLY COUPLE FROM A BURNING HOUSE IN PEC. ONE PARTICULAR PIECE OF GOOD NEWS IS THE RETURN OF TWO ETHNIC SERB PRIESTS TO THEIR HOMES IN PEC. KFOR WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE TOWARDS A SECURE ENVIRONMENT WHERE ALL CITIZENS ARE CONFIDENT IN RETURNING TO THEIR HOMES.
  • KFOR ENGINEERS CONTINUE TO HELP LOCAL STAFF GET VITAL UTILITIES BACK UP AND RUNNING. MEMBERS OF 21 ENGINEER REGIMENT ARE HELPING AT BOTH KOSOVO A AND B POWER STATIONS, WHERE 40 LOCAL WORKERS HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED, INCLUDING MAINTENANCE, SAFETY AND SECURITY STAFF. THE ROYAL ENGINEERS HAVE ALSO BEEN GUARDING THE LOCAL COAL MINE TO WHICH STAFF ARE ALSO RETURNING.
  • THERE IS ONE MEDIA OPPORTUNITY TODAY. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS ROYAL IS VISITING KOSOVO. SHE WILL VISIT GENERAL JACKSON AND A NUMBER OF REGIMENTS THAT SHE IS AFFILIATED TO. THERE IS A MEDIA FACILITY AT 1500HRS TODAY AT PODUJEVO. FURTHER DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE BRITISH PRESS CENTRE UPSTAIRS.
  • I WOULD NOW LIKE TO HAND OVER TO ……


    RTQ

  • TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO START BY CLEARING UP SOME CONFUSION THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE WITH THE UCK UNDERTAKING. THE UCK MAY WEAR MILITARY UNIFORMS OR UCK INSIGNIA AND CARRY WEAPONS, ONLY INSIDE AGREED ASSEMBLY AREAS. UCK PERSONNEL IN CIVILIAN CLOTHING MAY CARRY NON AUTOMATIC LONG BARELLED WEAPONS WITH A KFOR CERTIFICATE, OR A PISTOL. THESE ALLOWANCES ARE ONLY PERMITTED OUTSIDE THE PLACES DESIGNATED AROUND KOSOVO WHICH ARE GENERALLY BUILT UP AREAS. NO CERTIFICATES HAVE CURRENTLY BEEN ISSUED. KFOR SOLDIERS MAY CONFISCATE ANY WEAPON, AND IF NECESSARY ARREST THE PERSON WITH IT, AT ANY TIME IF HE OR SHE BELIEVES THAT THERE IS A THREAT TO THE SECURE ENVIRONMENT WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS IN KOSOVO. THERE IS STILL TENSION AND SO KFOR WILL DO ITS UPMOST TO REDUCE THE WEAPONS IN CIRCULATION AND WILL BE AS RIGOROUS IN ITS ENFORCEMENT OF THE UNDERTAKING AS IT WAS IN ENFORCING THE WITHDRAWAL OF YUGOSLAV FORCES FROM KOSOVO. HOWEVER, WE HAVE TO BE SENSIBLE. THERE IS A TRADITION OF WEAPON OWNERSHIP ESPECIALLY IN AGRICULTURAL AREAS, SO SOLDIERS WILL APPROACH EACH CASE WITH AN OBJECTIVE AND TENSION REDUCING ATTITUDE.

  • BURNING HOUSES:
    WE OF COURSE CONDEMN ANY CRIMINAL ACTS. IF INVESTIGATIONS POINT TO ARSON THEN WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO APPREHEND THE CULPRITS. HOWEVER, NOT ALL FIRES ARE HOUSES, AND NOT ALL HOUSE FIRES ARE SUSPICIOUS. UNFORTUNATELY, AS IN ALL COUNTRIES, THERE ARE SOMETIMES FIRES RESULTING FROM ACCIDENTS OR ACTS OF GOD. IN ORAHOVAC 3 HOUSES WERE SET ALIGHT BY LIGHTENING HITTING A POWER LINE.

    ITALIAN BRIGADE:
    ARRESTED 8 PEOPLE ON WED IN AOR
  • IN A RAID IN DAKOVICA, ITAL MPs ARRESTED 3 FORMER UCK MEMBERS IN UNIFORM AND CONFISCATED A NUMBER OF WEAPONS. OTHERS WERE ARRESTED UNDER SUSPICION OF ARSON.

  • AS OF YESTERDAY EVENING THERE WERE OVER 26,000 KFOR SOLDIERS IN KOSOVO. THESE NUMBERS WILL CONTINUE TO RISE TO THE ACKNOWLEDGED LEVEL OF AROUND 55,000 TROOPS.

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