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Updated: 6 October 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

7 Sept. 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Ole Irgens, KFOR Spokesman

The level of crime and violence in Kosovo is still beyond what is acceptable. Particularly serious are two recent assaults on patrimonial sites, one of them avoided by the rapid and determined response from French KFOR soldiers. However, with the visit yesterday of NATO secretary general, Dr Javier Solana, KFOR has been encouraged to continue its efforts to create an environment conducive to peace and democracy in Kosovo.

 


In Prizren, Multinational Brigade South, a Serb school chapel was destroyed by explosion of 5 antitank mines at 2300 hrs yesterday. There were no casualties, and investigations by KFOR Military Police and EOD are ongoing.

The Russian shooting incident in Multinational Brigade East at Ranilug yesterday is now under investigation by US and Russian Military Police investigators. One of the Russian KFOR soldiers involved was actually hit by a bullet during the exchange of fire. The bullet struck the soldier on his flak vest, but he was not injured, and there were no KFOR casualties. Although the loss of life is tragic, this incident serves as an unequivocal message that the Russians will not be partisan whilst conducting their operations under KFOR rules of engagement, and that violent crimes such as this are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The exact location of the mortar impacts reported late Sunday evening near the village of Pasjane has now been found and examined. Six craters were found, but no casualties were reported. The point of origin for the mortars is in the vicinity of Vlastica.

Yesterday at 1600 hrs a Russian KFOR patrol found a dead Serb man who had been shot and killed on his tractor in the vicinity of Ajinovce, 5 km north of Kamenica. Russian KFOR units are investigating the incident.

An explosion was observed by a KFOR patrol near Gorne Livoc, 2 km west of Gnijlane, at 2010 hrs yesterday. Investigations showed no visible damage.

An attempt of church arson in Vucitrn, Multinational Brigade North, this night at 0145 hrs was avoided by the quick and resolute reaction from KFOR soldiers. A French master sergeant, checking his soldiers on guard at a Serb Orthodox Church, observed lights from inside the sanctuary. He went inside to investigate and surprised a man who was attempting to set the church on fire. The man fired at the sergeant, slightly injuring him in the right thigh. The KFOR soldier returned fire, but the arsonist managed to escape. It is not known whether the man was hit or wounded. The sergeant was evacuated to the military hospital in Mitrovica. A platoon was deployed to protect the church and KFOR firefighters extinguished the fire. The church was only slight damaged, and Military Police are continuing the investigation.

Ground preparations at the Milosovo Bridge Site, north of Pristina in the area of Multinational Brigade Centre have now been completed, and the work will continue when the gabions arrive on site. The bridge is due to be opened at the end of September.

The brigade reported sporadic small arms fire and detonations overnight but no casualties or damage have been reported.

Finally, in Multinational Brigade West, a grenade was thrown at a Serb house in Milovanac, 5 km southeast of Pec, yesterday morning. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

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