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Updated: 5 August 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

5 August 1999

KFOR Press Statement

Pristina, Kosovo -- On Wednesday evening in Priština a British KFOR patrol stopped a blue landcruiser because it was using a blue flashing light. Inside the vehicle was Rexhep Selimi, a member of the UCK and self-styled 'Provisional Government of Kosovo, Minister of the Interior'. He was accompanied by Avdi Raci and Ilaz Derguti. Both Selimi and Raci have JIC cards entitling them to be in uniform and carry side arms outside the UCK Assembly Areas. When asked to identify themselves, Raci produced a MRK identity card from the 'Ministry of Interior Police', and Derguti produced a UCK identity card. Selimi had in his possession an MRK identity card, a pistol and 6 rounds which were confiscated.

The KFOR patrol felt that the men posed a threat to public order and they therefore decided to search them. They found Selimi's JIC card on him so they returned his pistol and ammunition. He then loaded the pistol in front of the patrol and holding up a round said something in Albanian which a local at the scene translated as 'this one's for you.' At this point Selimi was arrested. The Royal Military Police were called to the scene and after consulting with the patrol commander it was decided to release Selimi. However his pistol, ammunition and JIC card were confiscated along with his MRK identity card. The patrol also found a radio frequency scanner which was confiscated. None of the men were in uniform.

We repeat that under UNSCR 1244, KFOR is the only legitimate force in Kosovo until such time as we hand over responsibility for law and order to the UNMIK appointed civilian authorities. Special privileges have been given to some members of the UCK to allow them and a limited number of bodyguards to carry side arms for their own protection. If these privileges are abused they will be removed. KFOR considers that all abuses of JIC cards are serious incidents and the issue will be raised at the next scheduled meeting of the JIC.


KFOR Operational Update

by KFOR Spokesperson, Major Jan Joosten

  • Yesterday, in MNB Central, two teenagers were arrested for throwing a hand grenade which caused minor injuries to two people.

  • Yesterday, in Vitina (MNB E) KFOR soldiers received a report that a woman had been beaten and a man shot. The initial report of the criminal investigation team indicates that two assailants tied and beat up the woman and her 49-year-old son was subsequently shot dead in his bed .The CID continues the investigation.

  • At 2120 in MNB E approx. one thousand Albanians were moving towards Kamenica. KFOR soldiers monitored the situation and two Apache helicopters were dispatched to assess the situation. At 22.55 two illumination rounds were fired. During the incident two Albanian civilians were evacuated to the military hospital for treatment of stab wounds. At about 01:00 the crowed dispersed; there were no KFOR casualties.

  • Last night at 21.30 in Pristina an explosion caused slight damage to an apartment building. The explosive and ordnance team believed that a grenade caused the explosion. There were no reported casualties.

  • Yesterday at 15:45, a French soldier of the EOD team was slightly injured while defusing a PMA 3 during a minefield recce in Novo Poljance. He had treatment at the military hospital and he is being evacuated this morning to France. He is not in danger.

  • In MNB E a Serb man, who was part of an early morning convoy heading to Serbia, was shot after an altercation between Serbs and Albanians. The fight began when the Serb column was passing through the village of Dobrcane and Albanians threw rocks at their vehicles. The Serbs stopped and fired shots, killing one Albanian. The Albanians fired back hitting one Serb in the shoulder and neck. After the man was shot, the Serbs departed with the injured man for the next CP. He died while being transported from the CP to the Russian base camp for medical treatment.

  • Concerning yesterday's finding of an arm cache in Osjlane, a further search revealed that the cache contained a larger amount of weapons: 72 automatic, semi-automatic and sniper rifles, 14 RPG-7, several hundred kg of ammunition, including 10 anti-tank missiles, detonators, and machines guns have been found.

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