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Updated: 13 October 1999 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

13 Oct. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson

The overall security situation remained stable over Kosovo during the last 24 hours. This is, once again, very encouraging. Obviously, each crime or casualty is always one too many, but one must recognize that the security situation continues to improve gradually, thanks in part to the presence of KFOR and UNMIK Police in Kosovo.

Let me give you an overview of confirmed figures for the period June 12th to October 9th1999.

As you can see on this first slide, the overall security situation in Kosovo has improved considerably since the arrival of KFOR. This first graphic provides the total number of crimes for murder, arson, looting and kidnapping at the end of each week since the arrival of KFOR in Kosovo. We were averaging 30 or more murders a week when we stated to deploy, but slowly and gradually this number has gone down to 6 murders for the week ending on October the 9th, which is an historical low.

If we look at these figures in terms of crime rate per 100,000 people per annum we can see, for example, that the murder rate in Kosovo has fallen considerably and constantly. Data reported by ethnic background show clearly that everybody suffer from crimes committed in Kosovo, would they be Albanians, Serbs or even those ones who are here to help, like for the tragic murder of a UN employee reported yesterday.

As I said last time I reported crime figures, my goal is not to argue that we are happy about the current situation. Far from that. Kosovo is still a place where too many innocent people suffer for no reasons. 1073 looting incidents, 1106 arsons and 348 murders were committed since June 12th! One must acknowledge however that we have achieved a lot ant that KFOR is still giving all its efforts every day to making Kosovo a better place to live, for all the people of Kosovo.


On the afternoon of October the 11th, some former UCK members contacted Multinational Brigade West soldiers to hand in an impressive amount of ammunition. Altogether, the Riznic secure weapons storage site, located near Decane, received: 81720 rounds of 7.62 mm rifle ammunition, 11,570 rounds of 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, 684 rounds of 82mm mortar grenades and 15 kg of explosives.

KFOR applauds this voluntary action and hopes that it will set an example for others to follow. These illegal munitions of war do not have a place in Kosovo any longer.

Until November 30th 1999, KFOR will accept the voluntary turn-in of all weapons and military ordnance. No questions will be asked. No names be taken. This is an opportunity for the people of Kosovo to rid themselves of some painful reminders of the past. KFOR encourages all the people of Kosovo to take advantage of this opportunity. Individuals willing to turn-in weapons or munitions can contact any KFOR or UNMIK patrol or headquarters, where our peacekeepers will be more than pleased to take away the weapons.

While we are on the subject of weapons, you already know that KFOR regularly destroys confiscates arms and ammunition. Another weapons destruction operation is planned for this Friday at 09:30 at the Obilic Kosovomont factory, in Multinational Brigade Centre. More details will be posted on our information as soon as possible.


Now let's have a closer look at the situation in each brigade for the last 24 hours.

In Multinational Brigade East, a regrettable accident involving a German KFOR vehicle and a civilian semi-trailer occurred last night near the village of Kosare, 7 km northwest of Urosevac. The two soldiers in the vehicle were killed instantly. Details on this accident will be released by the brigade after notification of next of kin.

U.S. soldiers from Task Force 1-26th confiscated a pistol in response to an attack by eight Albanians on six Serbs late yesterday afternoon. The patrol was investigating a report of the attack when one of two of the Serbs volunteered to lead them to the house of one of the attackers. The pistol was found when the house was searched. The Albanian was detained at the Gnjilane Information Operations Center.

An AKM rifle, five magazines and 660 rounds of ammunitions were confiscated by a joint U.S./Russian patrol near Kosovka Kamica last night.

Early yesterday evening the body of an elderly Serbian woman was discovered inside a burning building in Obilic, in Multinational Brigade Centre. The woman had been beaten to death. UNMIK Police are investigating this murder. Commander KFOR, Gen. Reinhardt, expressed his outrage about this despicable crime. He will personally have a close look at this case and at the results of the investigation in order to provide UNMIK Police with all the support they need to arrest the perpetrators.

In Lipjan late last night, two men were stopped at a vehicle checkpoint and were found to be in possession of two pistols. The weapons were confiscated by UNMIK Police which are handling this case.

Yesterday in Cabic and Cerovic, 5 km east of Iglarevo, doctors of Multinational Brigade West conducted a vaccination campaign for the children of these two villages.

The Argentinean contingent, composed of 114 troops, just arrived in Dakovica yesterday, where they will buildup a field hospital. They will be operational today to the benefit of KFOR soldiers and local civilians.

The brigade reported that 29 Serbs returned to Gornji Dragolevac and are currently repairing their damaged homes to move in again as soon as possible. Commander KFOR sees this as a sign of growing confidence in the security situation in Kosovo and encourages other Serb refugees to return to Kosovo.

Yesterday at 16:25 hrs the body of a 70 year-old Albanian woman was found 20 km south west of Mitrovica, in Multinational Brigade North. It appears she had been dead for several days. The cause of the death seems to be a shock at the head. An investigation is currently conducted by the Gendarmerie.

Yesterday, several Albanians who were carrying automatic weapons attacked two Serbian lumberjacks in the Mokra Gora area, about 10 km west of Mitrovica. The lumberjacks managed to escape and to take refugee in a former control post before a Danish patrol arrived on scene. The two victims did not suffer from any injuries and the incident is currently under investigation

During the afternoon, four young children were caught robbing in the battery factory located in the south of Mitrovica. They have been identified and filed by KFOR French troops.

At 21:00 hrs yesterday, a hand grenade was thrown and exploded in front of a Serbian bar located on the eastern bank of Mitrovica, causing no injury and no significant damage. The French Gendarmerie is currently conducting the investigation.

At 01:45 hrs, at a checkpoint in Mitrovica, French KFOR troops stopped a vehicle and searched it. One AK 47 and ammunition were confiscated during this routine operation. The driver was questioned by the French Gendarmerie.

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