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Swisscoy soldiers called up in Kosovo

Swiss soldiers stationed in Kosovo have engaged in the escalating conflict between the Serb minority and the multinational Kfor force.

Some 15 soldiers serving with the Swisscoy peacekeeping mission were dispatched to the north of the country on Saturday where tensions have risen in recent days.

On Friday, some 2,000 angry Serbs faced off against Kfor forces in the village of Rudare, north of Mitrovica, forcing the multinational troops to retreat in order to avoid violence.

Swiss forces were called up to assist with the removal of roadblocks from around Rudare, and the neighbouring villages of Zublin and Potok, Swisscoy spokesman François Furer told the Swiss News Agency on Saturday.

On Monday, Furer confirmed the soldiers had removed roadblocks around three unspecified towns during the night of Sunday to Monday.

The removal of the roadblocks, which Furer described as “massive” and erected from trees, rocks and vehicles, was ordered by the German commander of the multinational force, General Erhard Bühler.

The Swiss were called in for their expertise in managing heavy machinery in delicate situations. They were protected during the mission by international troops, Furer said.

Members of Swisscoy have been deployed in Kosovo since 1999 as part of international peacekeeping efforts in the former Serbian province.     

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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