Updated: 4 October 1999 KFOR Press Updates


1 Oct. 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson

Despite several incidents and violent acts reported recently, overall crime figures for the last four weeks have stabilized and remained at a much lower level than they were when KFOR arrived in Kosovo. For the week ending on September 25th, KFOR recorded 10 murders, 1 kidnapping, 27 arson and 26 looting offences. These figures include offences reported by UNMIK Police and therefore reflect the overall security situation in Kosovo.

Although facts demonstrate that Kosovo is now a much safer place to live for all the people of Kosovo, one should not underestimate the considerable effort that has to be done in order to pursue the difficult task of securing boundaries and borders and protecting cities, villages, roads, market places and even monuments. The protection of ethnic minorities, more specifically, will remain a high priority. KFOR -- with the help of UNMIK, non-governmental organizations and the local population -- will continue to contribute to do its up-most to create conditions conducive to the build-up of a free, democratic, and pluralistic society in Kosovo.

Today, forces from the Southern European Task Force, headquartered in Vincenza Italy, are conducting an emergency deployment readiness exercise in Kosovo. This peacetime training is intended to exercise the ability of a combat force to rapidly deploy to a contingency area should the need arise. This is an excellent training opportunity for both the deployment force and for the aircrews flying the mission. 150 soldiers from the Army's Company A, 1-508th Airborne Battalion Combat Team will conduct airborne training into designated drop zones in Kosovo, where they will conduct small unit tactical training. The 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base Germany will provide airlift for the drop with a C-130 cargo aircraft. This joint training involves units from the United States Air Force and the United States Army, as well as KFOR elements already deployed in Kosovo.

In Multinational Brigade West, an unknown individual fired an anti-tank rocket gainst a Kosovo Bosniac house in Dobrusa, 10 km north-east of Pec. Fortunately only a fence was damage and no injuries were reported.

In Pec near midnight yesterday, a former UCK police station was searched and the Military Police confiscated six pistols, four grenades, five fuses and ammunition. An investigation is ongoing to track those responsible for this illegal possession of weapons.

In Multinational Brigade South, an elderly Serb couple was found shot dead in their house in Prizren yesterday morning. It is believed that they were killed in the early hours in the morning. KFOR is investigating this crime.

KFOR German troops are conducting since yesterday evening a search for a missing child 10 km west of Prizren.

In Prizren last night, the Military Police detained four youngsters, aged between 16 and 18, who were intimidating an elderly Serb woman in Prizren.

The brigade also reported a road traffic accident between an Austrian Jeep and a German reconnaissance vehicle, which only resulted in material damage.

Over the last four days, the German Civil and Military Co-operation Company distributed 350 sheep to farmers living in high altitude resettlements who lost their livestock during the conflict. This is the second shipment of livestock done by the German troops this month as part of Multinational Brigade West support to the civil community in the region.

Yesterday at 21:00 in Mitrovica, in Multinational Brigade North, the body of a 65 year-old man was found by the French Gendarmerie in the city stadium. The cause of death remains unknown at this time and the Gendarmerie is conducting an investigation.

KFOR French troops patrolling an area south of Mitrovica intercepted six men suspected of carrying stolen equipment from the battery factory. Three men managed to escape while the three other are currently detained by the Gendarmerie for questioning.

Since June 26th, the French Gendarmerie Detachment have conducted 7,020 identification checks, detained 101 people for questioning, arrested 57 people, and have prohibited 21 people from entering the area.

In Multinational Brigade Centre, an UNMIK interpreter was reported kidnapped yesterday afternoon. KFOR is supporting UNMIK Police for tracking the missing man.

At 08:10 hrs this morning, an injured Serb crossed the boundary from Serbia to Kosovo with gunshot wounds in the abdomen. The man was given emergency treatment in a Lipjan British medical facility and his condition is now stable.

Yesterday afternoon, in a cornfield near Vitina, in Multinational Brigade East, two Serb men were attacked by three unidentified men. One died from his wounds and the other suffered stab wounds to the neck and was evacuated to Camp Bondsteel by a U.S. MEDEVAC helicopter. He is currently in stable condition. KFOR Military police are investigating this attack.

A Russian patrol aboard an armored vehicle (BTR) responded to small arms fire last night at 18:15 hrs. The vehicle detonated four anti-personnel mine and came under small arms fire in the area of Kamenica. They fell back to call for reinforcements. A second vehicle sent to the scene also ran over an anti-personnel mine. There was minor damage to both vehicles. One Russian soldier had a slight head wound from being bounced in the vehicle. An explosive ordnance disposal team has been sent to clear the area and the incident is currently under investigation. The Russians responded accordingly and there were no significant injuries. The situation is now calm.

In Gijlane evening, a patrol heard a grenade detonation but found no damage on the site. Finally, at 01:00 hrs, an Albanian national has been detained for carrying a 9mm pistol when stopped at a routine checkpoint.

In Strpce, the local Serb population is still blocking the road in an attempt to take their own security measures. KFOR, UNMIK Police and OSCE are in discussions with the locals.

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