UNMIK’s situation report, 23 March

A source within Kosovo has forwarded this situation report by UNMIK on the current situation in Kosovo. The tone is “business as usual.” It really does seem if they are going to try and pretend nothing happened. In the meantime, the Albanians are supposed to hold several rallies today, celebrating the anniversary of NATO’s aggression that enabled the KLA to seize power. Who knows, maybe the Alliance will forget it was targeted in the rampage amidst all the “gratitude”… For the UNMIK report, continue…


The overall situation is calmer and there have been no major incidents since the report of 230800 Mar 04. Funerals for victims of last weeks riots, attended by large crowds, passed without incident today. KFOR and UNMIK-P are developing plans to provide security during the gatherings to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the NATO air strikes on 24 March.

Significant Events.
Dr Javier Solana (EU) and Mr Christopher Patten (EC) will visit Kosovo tomorrow and hold talks with senior Kosovo political figures.
UNMIK, KFOR, Ministry of Health and NGO’s continue to provide support to the IDP’s throughout Kosovo. IDP’s were relocated from KFOR Camp “Slim Lines” to Gracanica today. After the KFOR escort had left the area a group of about 35 of the IDP’s prevented the six UN buses from leaving the area and demanded to be transported under escort to Gate 3 and Mitrovica. The UN bus drivers have left the scene and UNMIK-P is monitoring the ongoing situation.
Representatives of ORC supported by KPS and some NGO’s are solving the problem at the location. At the time of reporting the outcome is still not known.
The number of IDP’s that remain in KFOR compounds is 387. the overall total of IDP’s in Kosovo is 4171
Rallies have been announced for the following locations tomorrow: Pristina, Gracanica, Lipljan, Dajovica, Glodjane and Pec. The Pristina demonstration was reported to be in support of NATO’s intervention in the recent riots.
UNMIK and KFOR have issued a public statement asking for calm during the demonstrations.
The primary aim of UNMIK-P and KFOR operations remains the maintenance of a safe and secure environment. A strong visible presence continues in and around the minority enclaves.
The number of arrests made in relation to the incidents that occurred between 17 – 20 March, as reported by UNMIK-P, has risen to 197.
UNMIK-P are now running a comprehensive survey of incidents throughout Kosovo to assess and verify information. Findings from this have shown that the total number of people killed during last week’s violence has now been confirmed as 20 people, not 25 as reported yesterday.
Assessment. There is no indication that there will be a major change to the situation in the next 12 hours. Focus remains on the rallies scheduled for tomorrow.
The fact that more sensitive funerals passed peacefully today is a positive sign.
In coming weeks the arrest of any leading organisers of the recent violence will be a watch area.
Key issues to address within the next 12 hours will be:
– Security arrangements for events on 24 Mar 04.
– Ongoing police investigations.
– Support to the IDP situation.
A brief summary of the incidents, by area is listed below; this has been drawn from Police, KFOR, UNMIK MLC and UNMIK SITCEN reports. It is stressed that the figures listed are not guaranteed. However, they provide the best assessment at this time.

Mitrovica Region. It was calm in the Region today. The UN Regional HQ was reoccupied today, a further 30 essential staff members will start work in the building tomorrow. Due to the security situation, which was reviewed today, staff who have homes in South Mitrovica will still stay in a KFOR base after working hours. Those living in the North can return to their accommodation. Funerals for K-Albanians killed in last week’s violence were held in Mitrovica today and they passed without incident.
Pristina Region. A peaceful gathering organized by a coalition of civil society organizations and NGO’s, reportedly “in support of NATO for the recent intervention against the riots and violence” is planned for Pristina at midday tomorrow. Police have given permission for this event to go ahead.
Gnjilane Region. It has been calm in the Region. The UN Regional HQ has reoccupied its building.
Prizren Region. The PDSRSG visited the Serbian religious sites that were damaged last week. He then held talks with a delegation of IDP’s in a KFOR Camp. The IDP’s were critical of the lack of security during the recent violence and expressed a wish to leave Kosovo rather than return to their homes. There have been no security incidents since the last report.
Pec Region. A gathering has been planned for midday tomorrow in Gllogjan. It is expected that the President of the AAK, Ramush Haradinaj will attend.

Travel Restrictions: Within most regions, travel remains restricted to those on essential duty only. In Mitrovica there is a full restriction on movement of UN vehicles less for the police.
The airport and all border crossings remain open.

The following figures provided by UNMIK –P were last updated at 231600 Mar 04:

20 Dead (K-Albanian and K-Serb figures are being assessed – the problem lies in a number of bodies, which still remain unidentified.)
888 Civilians injured including 22 serious injuries.
117 UNMIK-P and KPS injured.
63 KFOR injured.
561 Houses burnt down.
218 Houses damaged.
22 Churches burnt down.
11 Churches and Monasteries damaged.
77 UN vehicles burnt and destroyed.
61 UN vehicles vandalized or overturned.
11 KPS vehicles damaged.
32 Civilian vehicles damaged.