Updated: 22 October 1999 KFOR Press Updates


22 Oct. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Ole Irgens, KFOR Spokesman

Good morning.
Today I'm happy to inform you that all the necessary clearance now have been issued to reopen the Pristina Airport for commercial traffic. Dependent on the weather conditions, we expect the flights to resume very soon. This is a result of Eurocontrol, the organization in charge of regulating European air traffic, canceling the so-called NOTAM issued by Belgrade authorities. This NOTAM, or Notice to Airmen, prohibited commercial air traffic from Macedonia from entering into Kosovo airspace. This action from Eurocontrol is consistent with the Military Technical Agreement, which very clearly states that the responsibility for the airspace over Kosovo lies solely with KFOR.

As Susan mentioned, there was a successful visit of a delegation of Kosovar Albanian student representatives to the University of Mitrovica yesterday. KFOR sees this as an encouraging sign in the negotiation process that could lead to the reopening of the Kosovo universities on a multi-ethnic basis.

Four children were injured; two of them seriously, in a cluster bomb unit accident 9 km north of Urosevac, Multinational Brigade East, yesterday. All four children were evacuated by KFOR to Camp Bondsteel for medical treatment, and two of them were later released. This happened in a known and marked area, and KFOR emphasizes that stepping into such areas is extremely dangerous, especially since extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, can shift the location of mines and other unexploded ordnance.

The 250-pound plane bomb found in Pec, Multinational Brigade West, Wednesday was successfully destroyed yesterday at 16:55 hrs by an Italian explosive ordnance disposal team. Large parts of the city was evacuated before the demolition was carried out.

In three different interventions of soldiers from Multinational Brigade North yesterday, brigade explosive ordnance disposal teams disposed of one detonator in the Trepca mines, two explosive sticks in the Mitrovica battery factor and one rifle grenade found in the south part of the city.

Thursday night at 01:00 hrs an unknown person fired one shot from a passing car while driving past the Norwegian KFOR camp at Lebane, Multinational Brigade Center. No one was injured, and it is not known whether the shot was aimed at KFOR or not.

Yesterday at 2250 KFOR troops detained two individuals suspect for looting a Serb house in Kosovo Polje. The persons were handed over to UNMIK police.

Yesterday at 2335 at a vehicle checkpoint, Norwegian KFOR troops confiscated one pistol and ammunition found in a car searched at the checkpoint. Three passengers were detained and handed over to UNMIK Police.

At midnight, a successful car search at a vehicle checkpoint in Prizren, Multinational Brigade South, resulted in the arrest of four people found in possession of a submachine gun, a pistol, 30 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and two knives. Military Police are investigating.

During KFOR search operations in the villages of Begunce and Ljubiste, Multinational Brigade East, the following weapons have been confiscated: One rifle, one pistol, one hand grenade, two AK 47 rifles and ammunition. Nobody has been detained, and investigations are ongoing. And in Gnjilane yesterday at 22:53 hrs, US KFOR soldiers detained 4 men in possession of ammunition and a grenade.

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