KFOR commander's gun stolenFeb 28, 2000
PRISHTINA - The German commander of the Kosovo peacekeeping force KFOR, General Klaus Reinhardt, had his gun stolen while trying to calm ethnic Albanian protesters in Mitrovica, a KFOR spokesman said Friday.
The incident took place Monday as ethnic Albanians tried to storm the Ibar bridge dividing the northern Kosovo town.
"I do confirm that that happened in the crowd. It is a shame it did happen," Lieutenant Colonel Philip Anido told a daily press conference here, in response to a question about the incident.
"General Reinhardt was instrumental in calming the crowds and keeping that situation under control," the spokesman said in the generals defence.
It is considered a grave error for a soldier to lose their personal weapon.
"I think General Reinhardt would be proud to call himself a soldier first and a general second and I know that he will take whatever punishment or sanction would come this way," Anido said.
A senior officer, who did not wish to be named, said the incident was "very embarrassing" for General Reinhardt and "very serious."
But, the officer said, if any sanctions are taken against the general, they will not be made public and there is no question of withdrawing General Reinhardts mandate in Kosovo.
"His mission is too important for that," the officer said.