Skip to comments.German troops 'hid like rabbits' in Kosovo riots
Posted on 05/08/2004 8:37:45 PM PDT by elfman2
German troops serving with the Kfor international peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo have been accused of hiding in barracks "like frightened rabbits" during the inter-ethnic rioting that erupted in the province in March.
A hard-hitting German police report sent to the Berlin government last week criticises the troops for cowardice and for their failure to quell the rioting in which 19 people died and about 900 others were injured.
The charges - the most serious made against the German army since the Second World War - have been levelled by police officers serving with Unmik, the United Nations civil administration in Kosovo.
During the two-day riots between Albanian and Serbs, an Albanian mob burnt and looted 29 Serb churches and monasteries in the southern city of Prizren, and caused several thousand Serbs to flee their homes.
Leaked excerpts from the report on the conduct of the 3,600-strong German contingent based in Prizren disclose that Unmik police were left to fend for themselves at the height of the rioting.
"Despite continuous appeals for help from Kfor, nobody from the military appeared to back up the police," the report said. "Kfor proved to be incapable of carrying out the duties to which it has been assigned."
Further damning evidence, based on interviews with Unmik officers, Serb church leaders and unnamed UN officials in Prizren, was published in Der Spiegel magazine.
The magazine concluded: "The German soldiers ran away and hid like frightened rabbits in their barracks. They only reappeared in armoured vehicles after the Albanian mob had wreaked its havoc and left a trail of destruction."
Col Dieter Hintelmann, who heads the German Kfor contingent in Prizren, insisted that his men had simply obeyed Kfor rules of engagement. They prohibit troops from protecting buildings and allow the use of firearms only in self-defence. "We were acting exactly according to the rules," he said.
However, the Unmik officers claim that the Kfor troops had breached their rules of engagement because they failed to protect them even though they were legally bound to do so.
The allegations have come as a severe embarrassment to Gerhard Schroder's government, which in the past has gone out of its way to praise the German Kfor contingent for the role it played in the troubled province through its excellent contacts with local people.
After the rioting, Serb Orthodox church leaders in Kosovo described the German deployment in the region as a mistake, and demanded the troops withdraw.
So far, the German government has refused to acknowledge publicly the complaints made in the police report. However, the defence ministry is believed to be recommending that the law be changed, allowing soldiers to use tear gas grenades for riot control.
Kfor rules or german rules? I can not belive that the Kfor is prohibited from acting in such a situation - if so, then their presence in Kosovo is a waste of time and money.
His three suspected accomplices were let go due to the lack of evidence against them after Ejupi's escape.
Words mean distinct things, Destro, and you have a habit of misrepresenting the facts when you attempt to use them.
Hey what happened to that Albanian terrorist that the Americans let walk out of Camp BondSteel?
"My opinion is he did not escape," said Detective Stu Kellock, former head of the United Nations Kosovo Mission´s regional serious crime squad. "I thought a prisoner could not just walk away from Bondsteel. In my opinion he was taken elsewhere for questioning or something and I still do not understand why we, the police in the investigation who held jurisdiction, were not involved."
UN sources believe the suspect, Florim Ejupi, who was wearing a bright orange prison uniform when he vanished and was said to have cut his way through four sets of barbed wire fences with a simple tool, had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim.
"suspect" & "believe" may be good enough for you, especially if it involves trashing the US military or other government agencies, but then that's just another reason for you to free yourself of the onerous burden of having such an incompetent set of federal employees and trading up to the Serbian models, isn't it?
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