Support our mission

A U.S. commander ended a nightly curfew Friday in the areas of Gnjilan and Urosevac, Kosovo, that had been imposed in mid-March during an outbreak of ethnic violence. Brig. Gen. Rick Erlandson, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in the areas of Gnjilan and Urosevac, lifted a curfew Friday, officials at Camp Bondsteel said in a press release.

Erlandson warned Kosovars in his area that if violence resumed, he would impose a harsher curfew.

Meanwhile, international peacekeepers in Kosovo shared a Greek meal with local leaders this week to discuss the March 17 riots and ways to improve security.

Maj. Kriakos Kondogiannis, commander of the 525th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, hosted the dinner at Camp Rigas Fereos, according to a U.S. Army press release. A dozen Kosovo Force soldiers, both U.S. and Greek, attended.

“The intent of the dinner was to reinforce a Greek KFOR relationship with the local leaders,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Houk, a KFOR spokesman at Camp Bondsteel.

Over a traditional meal, Kondogiannis said his troops will return to downtown Urosevac, known as Ferizaj to locals, sometime in the near future, the release said.

Military leaders are searching for ways to rebuild stability in the province.

“They intend to work even more closely than in the past, so that events like those of the 17th and 18th of March won’t be repeated,” Houk said.

Three weeks ago, angry mobs attacked Greek troops guarding a church. While the ethnic violence has calmed, military and U.N. forces are on alert for flare-ups.

On Thursday morning, U.N. police arrested a man in Urosevac for encouraging others to riot, police said.

The goal of all Kosovo Force soldiers is to support the law and provide a safe environment, Kondogiannis said.

“We will not tolerate violence directed toward minorities or any of our soldiers,” he said.

Local leaders apologized for the violence and said they are working to bring the town back to the way it was before the riots.


Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up