Condemning attack against bus in Kosovo, UN envoy orders stepped up security measures

4 December 2005

The senior United Nations official in Kosovo has ordered stepped-up security measures, including new checkpoints, throughout the province in response to yesterday's failed but potentially lethal attack against a bus.

Eleven passengers – seven Kosovo Albanians, three Kosovo Bosniaks and one Kosovo Serb – were traveling from Dragash/Draga? to Prizren on Saturday evening when a projectile fired from the roadside struck the middle of their bus and entered the passenger compartment. It did not explode and on one was injured. Explosives experts serving with the international security forces in Kosovo (KFOR) safely removed the device.

UN envoy Søren Jessen-Petersen directed that security measures across Kosovo be enhanced to ensure that a safe and secure environment is maintained. These include “vigorous police patrols and vehicle checkpoints” throughout Kosovo, he said. Police resources are being redeployed to ensure a visible police presence in potentially vulnerable areas such as schools and religious establishments, according to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

“The security environment in Kosovo is generally stable, however incidents such as the one last night demonstrate that, during the status process which has just begun, isolated individuals or groups who do not have Kosovo's best interests in mind may attempt to disrupt Kosovo's way forward for their own ulterior motives,” said the envoy.

“They obviously will not care who they hurt by their misdeeds,” he added, declaring that “such provocations must not be tolerated.”

Mr. Jessen-Petersen said he has directed the UNMIK Police Commissioner to take “stringent measures” to enhance the security of all people in the province.

Currently, talks are being held on the future status of Kosovo, which the UN has administered since 1999 when NATO forces drove out Yugoslav troops amid grave rights abuses in ethnic fighting.

“Now that Kosovo is on the road toward resolving its status, fringe elements in this society will not be permitted to stand in the way of a better future for Kosovo and its people,” Mr. Jessen-Petersen said. “Such ill-intentioned individuals must be isolated, identified and brought to justice.

“Working together alongside the people of Kosovo, whom they are sworn to serve and protect, UNMIK Police, the Kosovo Police Service and KFOR will take every measure necessary to ensure security and progress,” he pledged.

 

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