Albanian Daily News - Dec 06

Arms cache found in homes of Kosovo Corps members

Albanian Economic Tribune

PRISHTINA - A stash of weapons was found in a house in southern Kosovo inhabited by members of the future Kosovo Protection Corps, UN police said Friday.

UN police officers and members of the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (KFOR) searched two houses in Stimje, where they said they found "anti-tank rockets, anti-personnel land mines, sub-machine guns, thousands of bullets, as well as Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Serb police uniforms."

They arrested two members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, who police said would be charged with "illegal possession of military armaments."

Police did not specify the number of weapons found, only indicating that the number was "substantial."

Meanwhile, near Prizren in southern Kosovo, two men posing as police officers arrested a 15-year-old ethnic Albanian boy, bringing him to the Kosovo Protection Corps headquarters in Malisevo.

"The victim was beaten by a corps commander, then released," police said, adding that they had arrested a suspect in the incident.

The Kosovo Protection Corps, the KLA’s civilian successor, has not yet been officially created, and recruitment of its 5,000 members is still in progress. The group is expected to help with humanitarian aid operations, assist mine clearances and rebuild the province.

In an effort to demilitarize the KLA, KFOR troops gave places in the Kosovo Protection Corps to 1,500 former KLA members.

US Defense Secretary William Cohen said that of the 13,000 former Kosovo Liberation Army members who have applied to join the police force, only 1,700 have passed the qualifying test.

He added that "this is a difficult mental transformation" for the former guerrilla fighters to make.

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