by Lt.-Cdr. Philip Anido, KFOR Spokesperson
KFOR Headquarters Remembers Fallen Comrade
Yesterday evening, the Commander of KFOR, General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, led his headquarters staff in a moment of silence to pay the traditional military tribute to a fallen comrade. Thirty-one year old, Private Igor Korshunov, of the KFOR Russian Task Force 14, was shot by a gunman in Srbica on Tuesday.
Despite emergency surgery at the French Military Hospital in Mitrovica, Private Korshunov's injuries were so severe that he died yesterday morning at 7:30 hrs.
General Reinhardt reminded his staff that Private Korshunov is the first peacekeeper to die, as a result of a deliberate attack by the local people on KFOR troops. The General reflected that he finds it very difficult to understand why those whom we have come here to help should turn their guns on us.
He added that KFOR will not be deterred by a few terrorists who are attempting to destroy the democratic and peaceful future that the vast majority of Kosovars desire.
KFOR military police and Gendarmerie have several leads in their investigation and will spare no effort to bring the murders to justice.
Private Korshunov's body will be repatriated to Russia and he will be buried with full military honours. He leaves behind his wife and young daughter.
Incident in Mitrovica
Yesterday, several Albanians were able to cross over the Ibar River to inspect their homes and prepare for a gradual return during the days ahead. They experienced no opposition or incidents.
Unfortunately, later in the morning a crowd of approximately 250 Serbs threw stones at other visiting Albanians, injuring two. KFOR French soldiers contained the crowd while Canadian medics treated the injured for superficial wounds. Local leaders assisted in calming the crowd.
Several Albanian families have declared that they wish to return to their apartments during the next few days. KFOR soldiers and UNMIK police will provide the necessary security along the route, including the bridges, as well as inside the three apartment buildings where the first returns are planned.
Events and incidents in Kosovo during the last 24 hours:
Attempted Murder and Arrests
On Wednesday, a KFOR patrol and UNMIK police responded to an attempted murder of a kiosk owner in MNB Centre. An Albanian man was arrested in connection with the crime.
Incidents and Arrests
Just after midnight last night a destructive explosion occurred in an unoccupied Bosniac house in Prizren (MNB South). No one was injured but adjacent houses were also damaged. Two Albanian men have been arrested in connection with the incident. UNMIK police are investigating.
Yesterday afternoon in the town of Trhichevce (MNB East), a group of Albanian men armed with guns and knives attacked their Serb neighbours. One 61-year old woman was evacuated to Camp Bondsteel with head injuries. KFOR military police and troops are investigating the incident.
Yesterday afternoon, KFOR British troops and UNMIK police responded to a road traffic accident involving two cars and a truck on the highway south of Pristina in MNB Centre. One man died in the accident and another had a gun shot wound. A KFOR ambulance and medical crew evacuated the dead and injured to the Pristina Hospital. AN AK-47 was found at the scene and all the men involved were Albanian. UNMIK police are investigating.
Yesterday evening in Lipljan (MNB Centre), a grenade exploded outside an apartment which in which both Albanians and Serbs live. There were no casualties, but a few windows were blown out by the blast. UNMIK police are investigating.
Yesterday during a house search in the northern part of Prizren (MNB South), KFOR troops found three boxes of anti-personnel mines.
On Monday evening during a house search in Glodane (MNB West), KFOR troops confiscated a pistol and a quantity of ammunition. And in another incident, a man voluntarily tuned over his pistol and ammunition.
Yesterday in Slattina (MNB West), KFOR Italian Caribineri conducted a house search and found a machine gun, two rifles and ammunition. One Serbian man was arrested and handed over to UNMIK poilce for questioning.
KFOR reported that a peaceful demonstration of about 2,000 people was held in Podujevo (MNB Centre) between 11:30 and 12:30 yesterday. They were protesting for the release of Albanians still held in Serbian prisons.
On the 9 March 2000, MNB Centre will be holding a media opportunity day. Media will be transported by helicopter around facilities in MNB Centre. Media need to register for these facilities and will be able to do so beginning 6 March at the front desk.