Nato 'takes over' Kosovo town

Monday, 14 August, 2000

International peace-keeping troops in Kosovo have swept into the divided northern town of Mitrovica.
Military spokesmen said the troops moved to take control of a Serb-run lead smelting works north of the town which was seriously polluting the area.
"At 0430 (0230 GMT) in Mitrovica ... K-For helped the UN Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) to take control of the Zvecan plant and ensure its security," Colonel Henry Aussavy said.
"This action follows a request from UNMIK to close this factory temporarily in order to stop it polluting," he said.

Local reports say the operation is a pretext for the UN to take control of Mitrovica in the run up to municipal elections in October.
Reports said dozens of vehicles transported the troops across the Ibar river, which divides the Albanian and Serb parts of the town.
Unmik says the Zvecan plant had raised the level of lead in the atmosphere to 200 times recommended safe levels since production was stepped up in June.
Mitrovica is home to the only large urban concentration of Serbs in Kosovo and there has been repeated violence during the last year.

Original article