By Lieutenant-Commander Philip Anido, KFOR Spokesman
KFOR Boundary Patrol Detained by Serb Police
At approximately 9:30 last night, Serbian police authorities released seven KFOR Czech peacekeepers after they had apparently strayed across the boundary with Serbia, east of Podujevo.
The KFOR patrol went missing at approximately 1:00 PM yesterday and Multinational Brigade Centre immediately commenced a search on the area. By mid-afternoon, Serbian authorities advised KFOR Headquarters that the soldiers were in their custody and that they wished to release them.
The peacekeepers were conducting normal security operations along the boundary when they appear to have inadvertently crossed the line. The events that followed were conducted in a professional manner and at no time were the KFOR troops endangered.
The KFOR armoured personnel carrier remains in Serbia because of mechanical problems, however it will be recovered today.
KFOR Prepares for Reinforcements
Multinational Brigade North is making preparations to welcome reinforcements to their brigade area. Twelve hundred French and Italian infantry will be assigned mainly to duties in the city of Mitrovica.
The additional troops will come from Italy's San Marco Battalion while the French are from the Regiment de Marche du Tchad based near Paris.
Exercise Dynamic Response
Last night, the first elements of the 24th US Marine Expeditionary Unit landed on Gritsa beach, some 80 km south of Thessalonica in Greece. The Americans form a major part of the 1,500 troops and 220 vehicles that are involved in Exercise Dynamic Response.
The landing lasted several hours until early this morning. For the next few days the US troops, together with infantry and marines from Argentina, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania will move into their sector near Prizren ready to commence their main maneuvers in Kosovo on 27 March.
"My responsibility is to get the troops off the beach into their vehicles and move them across country into the exercise area in Kosovo," says Major General John J. Deyermond, the Commander of KFOR's rear area,. "This exercise will practice our ability to move strategic reserves into Kosovo if ever KFOR requires reinforcement."
Night Illumination Along Boundary
Last night, KFOR US artillery and mortar units fired 27 rounds of night illumination munitions to light up remote areas of Kosovo's eastern boundary. This type of operation is a key part of KFOR's tight security along the line with Serbia. The high-powered light allows KFOR patrols to observe any illegal movement over a wide area.
Incidents and Events During the Past 24 Hours.
Last night in Kosovo Polje (MNB Centre), individuals threw a Molotov Cocktail at a Serbian house. KFOR Norwegian troops and UNMIK police are investigating the incident. Yesterday evening, a KFOR patrol found an anti-tank mine in a path near Pec (MNB West). An explosive ordnance team disarmed the device. In another incident, a group of Albanians delivered two mortar shells to a KFOR patrol near the Kulina border crossing.
Force Support Unit
Last night, an accident between two trucks blocked the highway a few kilometres north of the Blace border crossing causing a traffic tie -up. KFOR Greek soldiers were on the scene with recovery vehicles to clear the road. There were no injuries.
Searches and Weapons Confiscations
Yesterday a KFOR patrol searched a car and confiscated an illegal pistol and ammunition. Two men were detained and taken for identification in Kamenica (MNB East).
Early yesterday morning, 12 people were detained in Prizren (MNB South) for breaking the midnight to 5:00 AM curfew. The curfew is in place to ensure that peace and quiet is maintained during the nighttime hours.