UNMIK Police, KFOR disperse Serb protest in Mitrovica: UNMIK Police and KFOR dispersed a crowd of 500 Serb demonstrators in front of the newly opened offices of the Albanian Republican Party in northern Mitrovica yesterday. One shot was fired and UNMIK and KFOR forces detained a suspect who was found to be in possession of a hand grenade, an UNMIK official said in Pristina. The crowd then turned violent and two UNMIK officers were injured. To help maintain peace, KFOR deployed two Gendarmerie platoons from France and one platoon of infantry troops, and later closed two bridges to further confine the protesters. After continued unrest, UNMIK and KFOR succeeded in dispersing the demonstrators.
In other incidents, UNMIK Police reported that one person was badly injured when his home was attacked with grenades during the night of 16 to 17 December in northern Mitrovica. Two other houses were attacked that same night. In Kosovo Polje, unknown arsonists set fire to a Serb house yesterday, causing moderate damage. In Ulpijana (Pristina), a 58-year-old Albanian man was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon by unknown gunmen who fled the area in two dark vehicles -- a 4 x 4 Jeep and an Opel Vectra. UNMIK Police issued a news release about the incident.
UNMIK and KFOR yesterday discovered weapons stashed in a house 20 kilometres east of Pristina and confiscated two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, one hand grenade, several landmines, one AK-47, several handguns, ammunition, two protective ensembles against chemical agents, two radio sets and some unknown drugs. The owner of the house, an Albanian man, was arrested when he returned home.
Vehicle registration on hold while UNMIK improves registration process: The UNMIK Vehicle Registration Centre will be closed from 18 December 1999 to 11 January 2000 to assess and enhance the efficiency of its work and prepare for the launching of registration centres in other towns early next year. UNMIK has registered over 3,000 vehicles and distributed new licence plates to car owners. Official registration documents will be issued once the proof of insurance coverage has been provided.
Repairs to power plants under way to correct mechanical hitches: The electricity supplies in Kosovo have faltered over the past few days following breakdowns in the country's two main power facilities -- Kosovo A and B. In the first plant, conveyor belts malfunctioned in units one and two and a feed pump motor failed in units three and five. In Kosovo B, a leak in a boiler tube caused the breakdown of unit one. The restarting of Kosovo A after repairs was further delayed by a lack of diesel fuel, which was brought by train from Macedonia. Units one and four of Kosovo A are functioning, while Kosovo B's unit two should be fully repaired by 19 December, according to UNMIK Spokeswoman Ms. Daniela Rozgonova. Central heating in Pristina stands at 70 per cent capacity and will increase by 10 per cent before 25 December, when 80 per cent of the homes in Pristina will be reconnected to the central heating supply.
Democracy and institution-building
OSCE trains administrators on registration and judicial procedures: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has completed a training programme for 45 municipal administrators from 22 municipalities in registration procedures for births, marriages and deaths. Training on detention and court procedures were also conducted this week for the members of the Emergency Judicial System, thus completing the training of all the System's judges, lawyers and prosecutors by international experts. The training marked the fourth in a series.
A new OSCE monthy newsletter, The OSCE Update, has been launched to keep the public informed of the organization's activities.