PRISTINA - Sunday, 27 February 2000
General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, the Commander of KFOR, visited the northern part of Mitrovica yesterday to talk to his soldiers and local citizens. He is pleased with the high morale among his troops, but at the same time recognizes the anxiety among the minority populations.
The immediate tasks of KFOR are very clear. First, KFOR are applying appropriate force to counter and prevent unrest, intimidation and violence against innocent citizens. Second, KFOR units work and live amongst the people, to protect them from violence, so that they can rebuild their lives in peace.
KFOR, however, cannot keep the peace alone. The cooperation with UNMIK police is strong, and now in Mitrovica, the KFOR-UNMIK Police operations centre is co-located to fortify this cooperation and ensure rapid reaction to incidents.
The local leaders also play a vital role in the rebuilding and security processes. General Reinhardt and the UN chief, Dr Bernard Kouchner, work tirelessly with these leaders to ensure unity and mutual understanding.
The Commander fully recognizes the anxiety among the Serb community, but he has assured them yesterday that KFOR will protect their interests and their neighborhoods.
Let there be no doubt that KFOR will continue to provide all the necessary military security to protect the principle of co-existence between all the ethnic groups in Kosovo. All citizens must be allowed to return to their rightful homes and to live in peace.
On Saturday evening a break occurred in a section of a main water pipe in the southern part of Mitrovica, depriving many citizens of water. KFOR Multinational Brigade North engineers worked throughout the night to repair the pipes.
Thousands Mourn Loss of Pristina Sports Palace
A vital part of Pristina's cultural life has been lost as a result of the devastating fire that destroyed the city's landmark sports center. The centre provided space for school children, a grand sports hall, wholesale shopping for many market vendors, and was generally a magnet for the daily life of thousands of citizens.
U.N. Fire Chief Robert Triozzi would not speculate on the cause of the fire, but he appealed for far greater care and attention to be paid to fire prevention in the future.
"In the basement there was gasoline and paper, and this has to be stored professionally," Triozzi said. The fire chief praised the rapid and significant response from KFOR. Their effort to fight the flames clearly prevented the fire from spreading.
"We had over 75 firefighters from seven different countries, but they overcame the language barriers. You would not have more firefighters in Frankfurt or any other big city," he said praising the firefighters for a professional and outstanding job.
Local Citizens Hand over weapons
Yesterday there were two significant gestures on the part of local people that symbolize the complex road to peace and reconciliation. In Gracanica, local Serbs took away a man's AK-47 and handed it over to KFOR Swedish troops and UNMIK police. And in Suva Reka, a local citizen turned in a hand grenade to UNMIK police.
Incidents During the Past 24 Hours
Yesterday in Gnjilane (MNB East), a Serb man who had been shot twice was air evacuated to the Camp Bondsteel military hospital. Tragically he died of his wounds. A suspect was seen, but no arrests have yet been made.
Weapons Confiscations and Arrests
Yesterday, KFOR Military Police in MNB West arrested a man suspected of involvement in an attempted murder. UNMIK police have taken over the investigation.
Yesterday in Gnjilane (MNB East), a grenade was thrown beside two Serb houses, but caused no damage and no injuries.
Last night in MNB South a grenade was thrown at a restaurant in the Albanian quarter. There were no injuries and UNMIK police are investigating.
As you may know the Sports Palace which hosts the Press and Information Center was destroyed in a fire. The fire has destroyed the phone lines, and thus the KFOR daily press update will not be as regular as usual until the problems have been fixed.
However, our offical homepage, http://www.kforonline.com will carry the latest news about the fire with pictures taken by KFOR Chronicle photographers. You are welcome to use the pictures, but please note the following guidelines:
- No material is to be used for advertising purposes whatsoever.
- No material is to be used in parodies, theatrical pr oductions or any programmes and products that defame KFOR, NATO, its member countries, or any other country, which contribute troops to KFOR.
- Material is provided, free of charge, for use only in objective and balanced documentaries/articles, even though at times the end products may be critical of KFOR and/or NATO. In cases where a member country or any other country, which contributes troops to KFOR, is criticized, NATO wishes it to be made known that it does not associate itself with the contents of the documentary/publication.
The KFOR Press and Information Centre Staff
KFOR Press Information Centre (PIC),
Tel: 038-501330 Fax: 038-501329 Email: email@example.com
Information - KFOR Press Information Centre Web Site: http://www.kforonline.com
Tel: ++381 38 5013 30/33
Fax: ++381 38 5013 29/27
For specific information related to brigade-level operations, contact Brigade Public Information Offices.
Multinational Brigade Centre: Multinational
Brigade South :
Tel: ++44 7808 946 384 Satphone: 00 871 761 617 239 or 00 873 761 617 239
Satphone: 00 870 762 018 552 or 00 870 762 135 015 Multinational Brigade East:
Multinational Brigade North: Satphone: 00 871 683 141 847 or 00 871 761 247 395
028 310 25 Multinational Brigade West:
Satphone: 00 871 762 159 078 Satphone: 00 871 762 069 491