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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

Incidents in Gnjilane

U.S. soldiers and military police had found the casualties outside a building in the town on Saturday evening after hearing rounds being fired and grenades going off. They had surrounded the building and instructed those inside to come out and surrender. Four men and two women came out and were arrested. U.S. forces found weapons, ammunition and communications equipment inside, U.S. Spokesman Gunhus said on Sunday.

He said he had no information on the identities of those detained or the dead man. The wounded man, who had been shot in the leg, was an ethnic Albanian. Initial reports suggested American soldiers had been fired upon but the spokesman said it now appeared two groups of people had been shooting at each another. As U.S. forces were still dealing with the incident, five people approached, one of whom was found to be armed. All five were detained, Gunhus said.

In a separate incident, a U.S. soldier returned fire after being shot at from a green Mercedes car in the Gnjilane area, also on Saturday evening. The car was later found with blood stains on the upholstery but no occupants. No American soldiers sustained any injuries in any of the evening's incidents, U.S. forces said. Gunhus said Saturday was a busy evening for U.S. troops in Gnjilane. It was hoped the locals would now realise that the Americans, part of a NATO-dominated KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo, were serious about imposing law and order. It has been jeopardised mainly by returning ethnic Albanian refugees seeking vengeance against Serbs. "We will not tolerate this," Gunhus said. "Hopefully they learned that last night."

Source: Free Serbia

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