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.
There was a plastic shopping bag, with fingerprints on it, containing 7 detonators and an Islamic tape, in Arabic.
Perhaps the shopping bag was from Rexhep's Pristina Quickie Mart?
Here are the suspects. Perhaps one or more of them were in Kosovo at some time - who knows?
None of them are Kosovar Albanians, but it will still be interesting to see what the connection is once it is explained.
These present day Germans did the same as their grandfathers.
Stood by as the local Albanians or Croats did their dirty work.
For authorities to link finger prints to Kosovo means a record existed of said prints in relation to Kosovo-unless they fingerprint baggers in Kosovo supermarkets. Just like the UN's ICTY had files on a jihadist or two who carried out 9/11 - ICTY files that existed before 9/11.
COuld it be those Muslims "tourists" arrested and released in Kosovo (Algerians? Morrocans?) in the aftermath of 9/11 - you know the ones that hung outside NATO military bases snapping "tourist" pictures.
I don't notice him sending postcards from Tirana.