Updated: 29 September 1999 KFOR Press Updates


29 Sept. 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Ole Irgens, KFOR Spokesman

First, an update on yesterday's grenade attack at a marketplace in Kosovo Polje. At 10:20 hrs, two grenades exploded in a marketplace in Bresje. The attack was probably made from a nearby house. The explosion killed two people, and six people were seriously injured. 35 people were slightly injured.

KFOR personnel were immediately on site with infantry, Militarty Police, Explosive Ordnance Teams and medical personnel. The injured were evacuated to the KFOR Russian mediacal facilities in Kosovo Polje, where the received treatment.

After the attack, the road through Kosovo Polje was blocked, and still is. Discussions are ongoing between KFOR and the local population in order to address security concerns and calm down the situation. UNMIK police is investigating with support from KFOR. Two Albanian men arrested by KFOR were handed over to UNMIK police after the attack, and they are still in detention.

So to the question of protecting minority groups here in Kosovo. KFOR is putting a considerably effort into protecting groups who feel threatened. We protect areas, we protect families and even single persons are given protection by KFOR. We also act upon information given to us, and of course our own intelligence. But we can not be everywhere, on every streetcorner, protecting everybody all the time. The atrocities, the killings and the harassment can not be stopped by a military security presence alone. The people of Kosovo must decide themselves to stop the hostile acts towards another. So - again, KFOR appeals to the community leaders to exercise leadership, break the cycle of violence and put an end to the ethnic based aggression. Only when the violence ends, we can build Kosovo as a democratic society, open for all ethnic groups.

Let's have a look at some other incidents in the Area of Operations the last 24 hours:

In Decane, in the area of Multinational Brigade West, a man was shot and killed yesterday at nine o'clock, following a quarrel in a bar. Another man was wounded and evacuated to Pec hospital. A KFOR patrol nearby moved to the scene and arrested four Albanian men. One AK-47 was confiscated.

A considerable amount of illegal weapons and ammunitions was confiscated during different KFOR search and vehicle chekpoint operations in Multinational Brigade South yesterday. 3 AK 47's, one rifle, 10 pistols, 6 rifles, two recoilless rifles and a large amount of ammunition have been seized, and two persons have been detained for questioning.

A large weapons seizure was also made by KFOR troops 6 km southwest of Srbica yesterday evening. This is in Multinational Brigade North. Two cars were stopped at a checkpoint, and one of the cars was carrying: 16 anti-personnel mines, 38 anti-tank mines, 8 anti-tank rockets, 4 launchers and some detonators. Two Albanian men were arrested and are currently held by the Gendarmerie in Mitrovica. More weapons were confiscated by patrols in Gojbulja, 3 k north-east of Vucitrn, including: 1 AK-47, one pistol and magazines.

A car was blown-up by an unknown device in the centre of Pristina last night at half past one. Some damage was caused to a nearby property. UNMIK Police are investigating. Three Albanians were arrested.

Yesterday afternoon, an Albanian was injured and later died as a result of a grenade explosion 10 km north of Pristina. We do not know at this time if this was an accident or a grenade attack.

Multinational Brigade East: A Serb man and three Serb women were slightly injured in a grenade attack in Gnjilane yesterday. The injured were evacuated to Gnjilane hospital. Three individuals were detained for questioning.

Serb farmers were attacked by Albanians throwing rocks at Cernica yesterday evening. Some of the Albanians were detained, and this caused a protest at a vehicle check point nearby. KFOR soldiers had to fire two warning shots when the crowd became unruly.

At 23:04 yesterday evening, two Serbian teachers were reported missing in Urosevac. U.S. soldiers set -up traffic control points to locate the teachers. The search is continuing. However troops involved in the operations confiscated one CS gaz cannister, one RPG round, one rifle and one pistol. Four individuals are detained for illegal possession of weapons.

Finally, some good news. Tomorrow at 14:45 hrs, the secondary school in Klina will be opened by the SRSG, Dr Bernhard Kouchner. There is a press release issued on this, but let me just mention that the project has involved KFOR soldiers from the Multinational Brigade West, along with international organisations, the local community and local contractors.

14 of the 15 bays of the Milosevo bridge have been constructed. Today the last segment will be completed, linking both sides of the Lab River. The bridge is scheduled to reopen by the end of October. Media interested in covering the impressive works being done by KFOR engineers are invited to look at the PIC information board for this afternoon's media opportunity.

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