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Updated: 22 September 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

22 Sept. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson

The situation was calm in Kosovo yesterday. Initial steps for the stand-up of the Kosovo Protection Corps are being made, primarily through IOM information campaigns, recruiting and registration of candidates, and the distribution of transitional uniforms to former UCK members.

In all brigades, KFOR troops are continuing working around the clock to maintain a secure environment in Kosovo, including public safety and order. The encouraging situation which can be observed throughout Kosovo is in part the result of numerous simultaneous operations conducted by 50,000 peacekeepers, who are conducting patrols, air surveillance, checkpoint and border controls, search operations, investigation activities, etc. In addition to these security operations, KFOR continues to support UNMIK in a variety of sectors such as public works and utilities, construction, mine clearance, fires services, medical services and so on.


Now let's have a look at the situation in the brigades.

In Multinational Brigade North, small arms fire and explosions were heard yesterday in Rakitnica, in the Russian area of responsibility. A patrol was sent to investigate and found no trace of damage or hostilities. This morning at 06:20, the French Gendarmerie arrested a Serbian man in possession of a hand grenade in north Mitrovica. He is now detained for questioning at the Gendarmerie headquarters. The brigade is also pursuing mine-clearing operations in a former VJ compound located south of Mitrovica.

In Multinational Brigade West, a woman was killed and a girl injured yesterday in Belo Polje, near Istok, during a road traffic accident. The injured were transported to the Spanish field hospital for treatment.

KFOR troops in Multinational Brigade South conducted house searches yesterday and confiscated automatic rifles, one Uzi sub-machinegun, hand grenades and ammunition in Pirane and Danjane.

In Multinational Brigade East, it was relatively quiet. Apart from the incident mentioned by Ms Nadia Younes (UNMIK Spokesperson), the only reported incidents were two house fires in Gnjilane, and several pistols confiscated in Gornji Livoc. Last night at 02:15 hrs, Polish soldiers requested a medical evacuation for a pregnant Roma woman who was having complications. She was taken by U.S. Blackhawk helicopter to the hospital here in Pristina

Multinational Brigade Centre reported occasional gunshot fire and possible grenade explosions yesterday and overnight, although no injuries or significant damage were noted. Also, the first elements of the Swedish battalion will arrive in their future area of responsibility in Multinational Brigade Centre today. The contingent of 80 will reach a full strength of 850 peacekeepers by mid October.

For those who are tracking numbers, KFOR now has a total strength of approximately 50,000 personnel, including 41,331 in Kosovo, 7,016 in FYROM, 1424 in Albania and 151 in Greece.

Now let's have a look at the media opportunities.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

  • Immediately following this news conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from Ms. Kelly Moore, Spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, who will comment on the role of the ICTY here in Kosovo.
  • I would like to remind all of you of the football match extravaganza taking place this afternoon. There will be a parachute display, a military band and a multinational KFOR football team playing Pristina FC. The KFOR team will include Dutch, German, Italian, British, and Russian participants. It is being played as a sign of the regeneration of Kosovo and to remember the KFOR soldiers who have died. General Jackson and Dr. Kouchner will be at the match. If you wish to attend, please arrive at the PIC no later than 13:25hrs.
  • By the end of this year, 524 Swiss cows and bulls will be delivered to the Dakovica district. The goal is to assist the local population there get supplies of milk and eventually be able to build up their own herds. The livestock will be transported in by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Media wishing to attend the first flight are requested to be at the third checkpoint no later than 11:30 hrs today. Details are available outside. This is one of many examples of the humanitarian flights coming in to Pristina's airport.

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