Updated: 14 October 1999 KFOR Press Updates


14 Oct. 1999

KFOR Press Statement

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson

Today Commander KFOR opened the new "Evans-Balaram Rai" bridge in Milosevo linking Pristina and Mitrovica. The bridge was constructed by British Gurkha Engineers and was named in remembrance of Lt Gareth Evans RE and Sgt Balaram Rai RE from the same unit, who were killed on the 21st June 99 clearing munitions from a school near Glogovac.

The overall security situation in the brigades remained stable during the last 24 hours. Several successful search operations leading to the confiscation of weapons and to five arrests were conducted yesterday, in Donji Istok, Brod, Zlipotok, Vranitiste, and in the areas of Pec and Kosovska Kamenica. KFOR reminds all the people of Kosovo that embarrassing confiscation operations and eventual arrests can be prevented if the local population turn-in voluntarily all weapons and military ordnance to KFOR or UNMIK patrols or headquarters. 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. Weapons confiscated through other means might lead to criminal charges.

The weapons destruction operation announced yesterday will occur this Friday at 09:30 at the Obilic Kosovomont factory, in Multinational Brigade Centre. Details are posted on KFOR's Press Information Centre board.

On Tuesday 12 October the Norwegian Telemark Battalion officially took over responsibility from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the area west of Pristina, within Multinational Brigade Centre. The Irish Guards were the first NATO unit into Pristina on the 13 June 99, securing the helicopter landing sites for 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment. Their area of responsibility since that time included Kosovo Polje, Gracanica, Obilic and Lebane. Having deployed to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 22 April, they were the last major unit from the initial KFOR entry into Kosovo to leave theatre. The Telemark Battalion is a fully mechanized infantry battalion consisting of 980 soldiers based on armored personnel carriers. They have completed an extensive hand-over of the area over the last month and will continue to maintain a secure environment for the local population.

Since October 11th, six KPC candidates are assisting KFOR with the marking of areas contaminated with unexploded bomblets. They are currently working in Molic, in Multinational Brigade West. Working under the supervision of an Italian explosive ordnance disposal team, the men are initially marking known low risk areas and monitoring the condition of the fences around them. As of the 8th of October, KFOR has cleared 7,600 bomblets and is marking all strike areas in order to prevent regrettable incidents. KPC volunteers have been trained in first aid, mine awareness and minefield extraction in order to provide life-saving assistance to the people of Kosovo.
Yesterday, KFOR Italian forces evacuated from Pristina to Rome a sick Albanian child suffering from leukemia.

In Donji Istok, a man was arrested by a KFOR patrol at 00:30 hrs. He was found in the possession of a pistol. The weapon has been confiscated. Military Police are conducting an investigation.

At 22:30 hrs, on the road from Pec to Banja, in the vicinity of the partisan monument, a drunk man carrying a grenade was arrested by KFOR troops. The grenade was confiscated and the man arrested by the Military Police.

Yesterday morning at 06:55 hrs, in Multinational Brigade South, a German patrol prevented another attempt of illegal border crossing at the Albanian border. One individual was deterred from entering Kosovo from Albania when the patrol fired several warning shots. The surveillance of borders and boundaries are a key aspect of KFOR security operations in order to prevent smugglers or hostile forces from threatening the fragile stability in the province.

In two different occasions yesterday, KFOR patrols arrested five looters looting houses in Musnikov, 12 k east of Prizren. Looting is a criminal act. KFOR is not going to tolerate any such unacceptable actions.

Yesterday evening at 21:30 hrs, the German Military Police arrested five suspects for intimidating three Serb girls near Prizren. They are now detained in Prizren for formal identification and continuation of the investigation.

Several house searches were conducted yesterday in the Turkish area of responsibility, in the villages of Brod, Zlipotok and Vranitiste, all located in the vicinity of Dragas. The successful operation allowed KFOR troops to confiscate 33 rifles, two pistols, one anti-personnel mine and over 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

Since yesterday, KFOR forces are escorting Serb people working at the Trepca mine, near Mitrovica, in Multinational Brigade North. The workers are now pumping water that infiltrated the wells in order to resume mining operations as soon as possible. KFOR provides a 24-hour surveillance in support of this venture.

In Multinational Brigade East yesterday morning, a homemade bomb exploded near a Serb home in Gnjilane. The bomb, made from a coke can and metal pellets, did little damage and hurt no one. This incident is currently under investigation.

U.S. soldiers in Urosovac detained an Albanian male last night at 11:55 hrs after he drove his car through a fence and aggressed his sister-in-law.

Ammunition, two pistols, flares, and counterfeit documents were confiscated during raids on 11 houses in a joint U.S./Russian operation conducted in the area of Kamenica yesterday. An Albanian man in possession of two pistols and another Albanian man with the counterfeit papers were detained. In a separate incident, soldiers from the Russian's 13th Tactical Group confiscated a Zastava Pistol from a Serb male. He is now in custody.

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