Updated: 20 August 1999 KFOR Press Updates


19 Aug. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson

The overall situation in Kosovo over the last 24 hours remained stable, although KFOR had to intervene in a few areas in order to enforce law and order.

In Multinational Brigade (West) at 02:40 last night, there was an attack against a guarded Orthodox Church in Dokavice. The presence of Italian soldiers prevented the perpetrators to complete their assault, but an unknown number of criminals managed to throw two grenades and two Molotov cocktails at the church before fleeing from the scene. Unfortunately two KFOR Italian soldiers were slightly injured from shrapnel and acoustic blast. They were taken to the Italian field hospital for treatment. Thanks to the presence of KFOR only minor damage was reported. KFOR is currently searching the area to find the criminals.

In the overall plan of providing security and protection to the Kosovo population and to prevent crimes, Italian troops conduct security operations, especially in the border areas. The border crossings of MORINA, PRUSIT, VOCADSON, STROBERGE, MAJASHUK, DOBRUNE and QAF'MARRITZ are checked daily. In the last week 1,300 vehicles and 4,500 people were controlled by soldiers at Italian checkpoints. The small number of weapons confiscated could be an indicator that tight controls are a worthy deterrent against weapons traffic and help prevent crimes committed using these weapons.

As for Multinational Brigade (South), KFOR troops reported several house fires yesterday afternoon in Prizren. Unfortunately the fires started to spread during the evening and damaged approximately 20 houses. KFOR troops assisted local firemen in extinguishing the fires and rescuing people, with additional support from the local church and UNMIK.

Also in MNB (South), 20 soldiers of a Russian KFOR Explosive Ordnance Disposal team are currently clearing an Albanian school in LJUBIZBA, 5 km northwest of MALISEVO. This operation will allow the school to open its doors to all the children of the town on September 15th .

As for their colleagues from Multinational Brigade (South), Multinational Brigade (East) are actively involved in fire protection measures. Over the last few weeks, mechanics have helped to repair the three fire trucks in the city of Urosevac. Prior to this, Urosevac has had difficulty in keeping more than one of the three trucks running at any one time. US soldiers not only repaired the city's fire fighting trucks, but also responded with their own fire trucks three nights ago when a fire threatened to spread beyond the ability of the locals citizens to contain it.

In Multinational Brigade (Centre) yesterday evening, KFOR troops were dispatched to investigate the murder of a UCK soldier near the UCK Headquarters in Pristina yesterday
evening. Initial reports revealed that the victim was shot by a sniper and died shortly after his arrival at the Pristina hospital. No details on the sniper are available at this moment.

In two separate search operations in the brigade, KFOR troops found one rocket propelled grenade and a few small-caliber weapons. Concurrently to these arms clearing operations, British Engineers from 21 Engineer Regiment are currently improving the Piazza area, in downtown Pristina. They are repairing the lights, painting the buildings and repairing the fountains. The work is ongoing and will make the center of Pristina more pleasant for all its inhabitants. These activities are part of a confidence-building effort in order to encourage the population to feel safe again in their city.

Finally, the Multinational Brigade (North) remained relatively quiet and no serious offences were reported. KFOR hopes that this context will encourage the local population to pursue their talks in order to reach a social pact of peaceful coexistence.

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