|Updated: 18 October 1999||KFOR Press Updates|
KFOR Press Update
by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesperson
The security situation in four of the five multinational brigades in Kosovo was remarkably quiet yesterday.
In Mitrovica, in Multinational Brigade North, three planned and authorized demonstrations occurred yesterday morning, gathering altogether between 1,700 and 2,000 people on both sides of the Ibar river. KFOR temporarily closed the bridges in order to avoid incidents between Serbs and Albanians. It is regrettable that youngsters attempted to force their way through, from the south side of the main bridge, throwing stones and empty bottles at KFOR soldiers. KFOR troops prevented an ethnic clash by stopping the demonstrators and dissipating the hostile crowd with the use of tear gas. As a result, no serious injuries were reported although some soldiers suffered from minor cuts and bruises.
KFOR is encouraged to see that two of these gatherings were held in civilized manner and that organizers respected their commitment to use only peaceful means to express their grievances. We strongly condemn, however, the actions of those who behaved aggressively. Such actions can only delay the return of normal life, the reopening of universities, the establishment of a durable peace in Kosovo. KFOR remains committed to prevent such actions done by a few individuals to undermine the process of reconciliation.
Multinational Brigade West reported two incidents yesterday evening. The first event occurred in Istok, at 18:30 hrs, when an Albanian man wearing a KPC uniform was controlled at a checkpoint and was found in possession of a rifle, without an authorization card. In the second case, three men have been stopped at the Klina bridge checkpoint. They were in possession of unauthorized police cards and were also carrying handcuffs, sticks and police T-shirts. In both cases, weapon and items have been confiscated and investigations are underway.
KFOR troops conducted a search operation in the vicinity of Gorazdevac and Pec, in the early morning yesterday. The operation aimed at investigating rumors about Albanians being held prisoner in those areas. No evidence of detained persons was found.
Since the arrival of KFOR, Serb refugees are regularly coming back to Gorazdevac, 5 km east of Pec, in Multinational Brigade West. From approximately 200 people in June, they are now about 750. KFOR is supporting UNHCR refugee return programs in providing security in the area and is also escorting weekly buses transporting families coming back from Montenegro. Commander KFOR, General Dr Reinhardt puts special emphasis on the return of Serb refugees to their homes. KFOR, together with UNMIK, will do its utmost to facilitate such returns on a wider scale throughout Kosovo.
Shortly after midnight, in Multinational Brigade East, an accident involving a KFOR-operated train and a civilian car occurred in the northwestern part of Urosevac. Fortunately, nobody was injured and no significant damage was reported. Military Police are currently conducting an investigation.
Yesterday evening, in Bresje Flats, in the vicinity of Kosovo Polje, Multinational Brigade Centre, an injured man was found by KFOR troops during a patrol. The man, an ethnic Serb, had been badly beaten by unknown people. He was taken to a KFOR medical facility downtown.
In Milosevo, north of Pristina, a man carrying a pistol and a Joint Implementation Commission card was arrested during a routine control at a checkpoint. Both items were confiscated.
In Pristina, at 02:10 hrs, a KFOR patrol intervened in order to stop the beating of a man. The four aggressors fled the scene at the arrival of the patrol. This incident is currently under investigation.
In Multinational Brigade South, at 21:15 hrs, the Military Police arrested two people as they attempted to cross illegally the Albanian border. After questioning, one of the two men, thought to be a guide, remained under arrest and the other was sent back to Albania. Military Police are conducting an investigation.
The brigade also reported one confiscated weapon during a house search conducted in Nasec, 6 km northwest of Prizren.
We announced earlier this week that KFOR and UNMIK Police will accept voluntary turn-in of all weapons and military ordnance until November 30th 1999. Please make sure that the right date is published in media reports. Some media got the dates wrong in related articles.