Kosovo resumes clearing mined areas

Apr 5, 2012, 1:28 PM

Associated Press

HARILAC, Kosovo (AP) – Demining experts have resumed the slow process of clearing Kosovo of the many NATO cluster bombs and Serbian military land mines left behind from the 1998-99 war. Since the conflict ended, the hidden devices have killed 114 people and wounded more than 450.

Members of the Kosovo Security Force donned protective gear and visors on Thursday to pick up where they left off last year after the first snowfall. In Kosovo, demining experts have to wait until spring approaches and the ground softens to resume scanning for explosives.

Some 4,500 mine fields were registered in 1999 following NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign that ended the war and stopped the brutal crackdown by Serb forces on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Master Sgt. Behxhet Kodra of Kosovo’s Security Force said the nation remains strewn with cluster bombs and land mines.

On Wednesday, the U.N. marked International Mine Awareness Day to highlight the dangers of explosive devices such as these that have been used in conflicts around the world.

Kodra said clearing Kosovo’s many mine fields is a dangerous but rewarding job.

“We have been working on this location for the past two years now and have found and destroyed some 200 explosive ordinances from cluster bombs to shells and mortars, rockets and other projectiles,” he said. “One cleared mine is one human life saved.”

His team was combing the hills around the village of Harilac, 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Pristina, the capital, and near the country’s main airport.

The area was heavily bombed by NATO in 1999 to target tunnels where the Yugoslav army was storing its fighter planes and using the nearby runway to fight NATO bombers.

The Kosovo Security Force is a lightly armed civil emergency force made up mostly of former ethnic Albanian rebels who fought a guerrilla war against Serbia. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence, but Serbia has rejected the move and treats the territory as part of Serbia.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
29 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
1 month ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
1 month ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.