Updated: 17-Dec-1999 KFOR Press Updates


17 dec. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesman

KFOR Responds to Unrest in Mitrovica

Peace in Mitrovica was disrupted yesterday by several related incidents. The disturbances arose as a reaction to a meeting of the PRSH Albanian Party in their new office in the northern part of Mitrovica. As the meeting concluded in the early afternoon, 250 Serbian protesters gathered in front of the office building. KFOR in Multinational Brigade North reacted immediately to contain any possible unrest by dispatching two Gendamerie platoons and one infantry platoon. KFOR significantly increased the number of street patrols and reported several incidents, all of which were contained. The incidents which occurred during the afternoon and evening included 100 Albanians attempting to cross the Eastern Bridge. KFOR immediately closed the bridge, and a second nearby one, but reopened them an hour and a quarter later as the situation returned to normal. KFOR patrols investigated four explosions heard in the early evening north of the Ibar River. Two impact points were found from 'defensive' grenades -- one on the roof and one in the courtyard of an Albanian-owned house. Damage was minor. Just after midnight this morning, a grenade was thrown into an Albanian home. A man suffered minor leg wounds and property damage was light. A Serb-owned home was hit by a grenade, again with minor damage.

General Reinhardt, Commander KFOR, deplores the disturbances, and calls on all parties to respect the fundamental principles of peaceful coexistence and law and order. The Commander will visit Mitrovica today to assess the situation and to underscore KFOR's vital role in ensuring calm and confidence among the citizens in the community.

While the new office is considered by the Serbians to be provocative, freedom of peaceful movement in a multi-ethnic Kosovo is an essential condition for civic harmony throughout the province.


Events and incidents in Kosovo during the last 24 hours:

More weapons confiscated:
Yesterday afternoon, 20 km east of Pristina in Multinational Brigade Centre, KFOR troops conducted a house search, assisted by UNMIK Police. They confiscated: two rocket propelled grenade launchers, one hand grenade, several land mines, one AK-47, several airguns, rounds of ammunition, two complete protective ensembles, two sets of radios and some unknown drugs. Following the search, a surveillance operation was conducted which resulted in the arrest of the owner of the house, a Kosovo Albanian, who had returned to the site during the night.

Another search operation was conducted in Jablanica, 15 km east of Pec, in Multinational Brigade West yesterday evening. KFOR troops confiscated six AK-47s. No arrests were reported.

Burglar arrested:
KFOR Military Police arrested a suspected burglar yesterday afternoon in Kasica, in Multinational Brigade West. The man was caught by the owner of a house, who turned him over to KFOR troops. He was taken to the Military Police station in Pec. Questioning might lead to the arrest of other burglars seen at the scene by the local population.

KFOR arrests checkpoint breakers:
KFOR British troops apprehended two individuals who attempted to avoid a vehicle checkpoint in Pristina in the early hours of this morning. UNMIK Police arrested the individuals on suspicion of vehicle theft.

Suspected abductors arrested:
In the early evening yesterday local civilians reported an attempted abduction to KFOR British troops. They gave a description of the vehicle and individuals involved and a search operation was immediately put in to effect. Approximately forty minutes later, a vehicle was stopped by KFOR troops and UNMIK Police arrested the occupants. An investigation is ongoing.

KFOR takes very seriously and, together with UNMIK Police, investigates all reported abductions. Although most of them turn out to be false alarms, COMKFOR considers no stones should be left unturned to reassure the population that their personal safety is of paramount importance.

Media Opportunity:

The 2nd Battalion the Royal Green Jackets will conduct First Aid training for provisional members of the Kosovo Protection Corps on Monday 20th of December at 1400hrs. This training is part of the transformation process that is on going to prepare the KPC for its civilian emergency response role. The training will take place at the Echelon location in Pristina. Transport will be available from the Press Information Centre at 1345hrs on Monday. For further details please contact a member of the Multinational Brigade(C) staff.

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