Updated: 28 September 1999 KFOR Press Updates


28 Sept. 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Ole Irgens, KFOR Spokesman

Today, French KFOR Gendarmerie from Multinational Brigade North announced the arrest of four men suspected for their involvement in the abduction of 23 ethnic Albanians from Kosovska Mitrovica, in the northern part of Kosovo. As a result of a long-term investigation, 28 bodies were uncovered in the nearby village of Vidomiric, 4 km west of Mitrovica, including the remains of 7 victims who were formally identified yesterday. Please see separate press release for further details.

A media brief will be conducted by Col Claude Vicaire, Commander of the French Gendarmerie detachment in Mitrovica, at KFOR Press Information Centre in Pristina today at 14:00 hrs. Media interested in visiting the gravesite are invited to meet at the Multinational Brigade North Press Information Office of Mitrovica today at 16.00: hrs.

The unfortunate clashes between ethnic groups in Kosovo Polje, Multinational Brigade Centre, seem to continue. Yesterday, 100 Serbs staged a demonstration after a man was shot in the stomach in the village of Ugljare. An Albanian man who drove into the crowd was dragged out of his car and severely beaten. The village was sealed off to prevent further clashes, and the casualties were taken to the hospital in Kosovo Polje.

A motel in the south district of Mitrovica, Multinational Brigade North, has been refurbished after being used by a KFOR reconnaissance and investigation squadron from the brigade since June. With the help of UNHCR and the ADRA non-governmental organisation, the brigade decided to leave the building after having refurbished the water and electricity systems and to put it at the disposal of Albanian refugees. 70 people without housing were re-housed in that hotel yesterday afternoon for a temporary period. Within the next two months they will get some prefabricated houses, thanks to ADRA.

The ethnic groups of Mitrovica are still conducting protest actions, but fortunately the protests are now relatively quiet, although the situation in the city is still reported as tense at times. Yesterday a protest occurred outside the Serb hospital in the northern part of the city, involving around 200 people. However, the episode passed without incidents. KFOR is closely watching the situation in the town, and will deploy troops and personnel if needed.

KFOR troops are continuing their effort in improving the overall life quality for the inhabitants in the area of operations. Today and tomorrow, German KFOR troops in Multinational Brigade South will be holding traffic education for 2.000 school children in the town of Suvareka. In the city of Dragash, Turkish KFOR troops have finished a vaccination program for 589 children. And the local radio station in Dragash is now back on air. This week, KFOR troops found and handed back the transmitting equipment for Radio Sharri, which was stolen during the hostilities.

Yesterday afternoon, KFOR troops found the body of a man in a creek near Pozaranje, Multinational Brigade East. The man was identified by his son. U.S. Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the incident.

At 18:20 hrs yesterday, acting on a tip from a local population, KFOR Military Police arrested an Albanian man suspected of murder. The man is suspected for having shot another Albanian in Pec, Multinational Brigade West, the day before.

KFOR troops are continually attempting to track down and seize illegal weapons and ordnance in all multinational brigade areas. Yesterday, one AK-47, a pistol, a rifle and ammunition were confiscated during a routine vehicle control in the village of Kovrage, east of Istok.

Tomorrow, a test landing with an Italian G-222 cargo aircraft will be performed at Dakovica airport. The airport have been rebuilt recently by Italian airforce engineers, and will play an important role in the logistics and support operations for the 4.500 Italian KFOR troops in Kosovo.

KFOR troops brought an injured man to hospital in Dakovica yesterday. The man had been involved in a mine accident, and approached a checkpoint near the border to get help.

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