by Lt.-Col. Henning Philipp, KFOR Spokesperson
Pristina, 14 February 2000
Update on Mitrovica
Yesterday was a day of unprecedented violence, injury and unrest in Mitrovica. The following is a summary of the events from the KFOR perspective.
At approximately 9 a.m. in the morning a hand grenade exploded in a group of people just north of the Eastern Bridge in the northern part of Mitrovica. Gunshots were also heard in the area.
Seven Albanians were injured, three of them seriously. They were rushed to the KFOR Moroccan Military Hospital for treatment.
At 11 a.m. two KFOR French soldiers were shot and injured at their guard post near the Eastern Bridge. One was shot in the arm and one in the stomach. Both were evacuated to the French Military Medical Facility. They are in stable condition.
KFOR immediately returned fire at the building where the sniper fire came from and cordoned off a large area. At noon, snipers turned their fire on Serbians on the street. There were no reported injuries and the people escaped under KFOR protection.
At approximately 12:30 p.m. KFOR troops exchanged fire with snipers. Two snipers were captured, both were wounded. They were taken to the KFOR Moroccan Field Hospital where one died of his wounds. The injured and dead men are reported to be Albanian.
At 3:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, the train from Kosovo Polje to Zvecan was hit by small arms fire when it reached the Mitrovica station. An UNMIK policeman was slightly injured by flying glass. The KFOR Greek medical personnel on board treated him on the scene.
The train moved back to the Serb village of Priluzje. KFOR Greek Force Support Unit provided trucks and security and MNB North soldiers provided extra security to move the Serb passengers by road to Zvecan.
Yesterday, 40 people have been arrested in connection with the violence during searches of several buildings. They are now in detention under KFOR guard.
The Commander of KFOR, General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt was in Mitrovica yesterday to oversee the military operation and to be with his soldiers.
The allied military forces have taken immediate and robust action against this renewed, serious outbreak of violence. KFOR is in the process of conducting intense searches of houses and buildings in the city and will maintain a heavy presence in the streets.
The KFOR presence in Mitrovica includes French, British, Italian, Belgian and Danish KFOR troops. They are conducting foot patrols, vehicle checkpoints and static guard at homes and businesses in minority neighborhoods.
A nighttime curfew was in force last night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will be enforced for the foreseeable future.
Events and incidents in Kosovo during the last 24 hours:
At 5 p.m. yesterday, the body of an 18year old Albanian male youth from Kosuric (MNB West) was taken to the hospital in Pec. He had been shot by an AK-47.
Incidents and Injuries
Last night, a hand grenade was thrown into a Serb home in Kosovo Polje (MNB Centre). There were no injuries. Six Albanian men between the ages of 16 and 20 were seen leaving the area in a red car. UNMIK police are investigating.
Early yesterday morning the road collapsed under a US HMMWV whish subsequently rolled down a bank. Three soldiers were in the vehicle. None suffered serious injury, but one was admitted to the Camp Bondsteel (MNB East) hospital for observation.
Yesterday evening in Miroc (MNB West), a KFOR patrol stopped an Albanian man at a vehicle checkpoint. He had an AK-47 and ammunition which were confiscated. During a search of his house, a quantity of ammunition was found. The man was arrested. KFOR Military police are investigating.
Yesterday evening in Donji Ratis (MNB West), KFOR troops searched an abandoned house and found a machine gun and ammunition. KFOR are investigating.
Yesterday in Glodane (MNB West), KFOR Italian Military Police arrested an Albanian man with a weapon and in a search of his house found a machine gun, two rifles, 26 rockets, 47 hand grenades and a quantity of ammunition.