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Updated: 5 August 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

23 July 1999
as of 11:00

KFOR Press Statement

Delivered by Major Jan Joosten, KFOR spokesman

  • At 2230, yesterday in Multi-National Brigade West, in the area of Zac, a Spanish KFOR patrol was engaged 50 meters from their position with automatic fire coming from a vehicle. The patrol returned fire and the car fled from the scene. During the follow-on search 2 men approached the patrol and handed them an M-41 machine gun and two clips of ammunition. The two men were detained for questioning at the Spanish Headquarters in Istok.

  • Later in the same area a car was stopped with three occupants, one of them had been shot in the leg, all three were taken to the Spanish Headquarters, on initial questioning it was discovered that they are brothers of the other two arrested. It is believed that the injuries sustained by the one casualty are a result of the patrol returning fire.

  • Our soldiers have robust rules of engagement and that includes the right for self-defence. it is better not to put this to test.

  • Three house fires were reported in Mitrovica in the neighbourhood of Suvi-Do yesterday afternoon. The Military Fire Brigade extinguished the fires. We are currently investigating the circumstances of what appears to be deliberate arson. So far no arrest have been made.

  • Yesterday morning in MNB Central, in Milosevo, 180 grenades were found while KFOR troops were conducting a search in the local post office. There was no one on location and no arrests were made in connection to this weapons find.

  • You probably have noticed that there were some difficulties with the power supply yesterday, the reason for this was that the Kosovo a power plant had to shut down. The problem was identified as being the poor quality of the brown coal supplied. The power plant has now been using recent coal from the reopened coal mine and the power plant is up and running again.

  • Let me provide you with the latest troop figures, overall there are 42500 in theatre and approximately 36500 troops in Kosovo.

  • And now a few administrative announcements,

  • Bundes Chancellor Schroeder will have a press conference at 1445 in Prizren.
  • Tomorrow at the HQ KFOR there will be a media availability with General Jackson and Ceku, after the Joint Implementation Commission meeting at 1030, immediately followed by a Chinook flight at 1100 to Klina to attend the refurbishing of a secondary school.

  • On Sunday, 1100 there will be a press conference here in the press centre with Ambassador Kuchner and General Jackson.

Question from Kosova Press: Can you give us any information on whether or not the UNFPA has joined your team yet? In the early 1990's they were working here with the Yugoslav Government to distribute IUP's and morning after pills. The Yugoslav probably had one reason to invite the UN to do this. Is the UNFPA here? Regional areas outside of Pristina. What is your assessment on the interim government is doing in the provinces where the UN is not yet present? Is there chaos or is there some kind of administrative network here as far as the UN is concerned?

Answer from Mr Kennedy: I will have to check on the UNFCA, I believe they do have a team here, I don't know if they have actually started work, but I will have to check and confirm and get back to you with the details. On the question on an assessment of what is going on out in the field I think you are quite aware of the daily updates that you are getting from KFOR in terms of the security situation, and we have district administrators who have been appointed in the 5 principle district centres , outside Pristina. They are establishing contact with the people who are working out in those areas. I am not in a position to give you an overall assessment of that I think this is a question that you might want to put to Mr Kuchner on Sunday when he will meet you here with General Jackson.

Question from Nick Childs of the BBC: Could you please give us an update on where things stand with the Russian Contingent in terms of, I believe there have been more arrivals this week, on numbers, deployments and whether patrolling is going on? Just a general overview of where things stand.

Answer from Maj Joosten: Patrolling is going on in 2 areas, that is the Malisevo area, that is in the German Sector and there is patrolling going on in the US Sector in Kamanica. In the coming period we can see a larger number of Russian Troops coming in, I do not have the schedule on hand here, but I am most happy to provide you with that information after the conference.

Question from the Guardian: Can you elaborate on what nationality, ethnic group, on those that opened fire on the Spanish patrol?

Answer from Maj Joosten: They were Albanians.

Question from Reuters: Do you know anything about an alleged incident a couple of days ago. We heard fuzzy information on an attack by, possibly KLA, on a railway in Kosovo Polije. Allegedly designed to prevent Serbs from returning to a local village there. The details are completely sketchy and I have no idea on what actually happened, but do you know anything about it?

Answer from Maj Joosten: The only information I have, indeed there was a train accident in MItrovica, and luckily nobody was injured. A piece of rail was taken out or somewhat of that effect but the real reason behind this I don't know. Although I believe it is still under investigation and I will be able to check that with the French Liaison afterwards to see if they have more information on this issue.

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