The NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR) and police stepped up security at the border with FYROM following a shootout there a day earlier which killed four, officials said Thursday.
“We sent a quick reaction force to intensify our layout along the (FYROMian) border,” KFOR spokesman Michael Kotting told AFP.
Kosovo police also said they were implementing a stricter border regime along the FYROMian boundary.
“The situation along the Kosovo-FYROM border is calm and stable. But, we have increased security measures along the border, expanding the number of patrols,” police commander Nebi Aliu in charge of the zone told media here.
Four people were killed Wednesday in the shootout with police in a village on the FYROMian side.
Police said shooting broke out in the mountainous border area with Kosovo when they tried to stop a van suspected of transporting illegal arms near the village of Radusa.
Three of the dead were identified as FYROMian and one as a Kosovo citizen. FYROMian authorities seized in their van bags of explosives, anti-infantry mines and other weapons.
The border region between the two former Yugoslav entities is considered a very sensitive area and a notorious smuggling route.
Last week NATO officials warned that recent incidents of weapons’ smuggling across the border could destabilise the region.
The international peace corps in Kosmet have sent backup to the EULEX and Kosmet police service in the border area and at crossings with FYROM, stated KFOR Spokesperson Michael Kotting. He specified that the first response units will be securing the border between the Province and FYROM in the future, staying in the area for as long as necessary.
The reason for this are latest events near the village of Radusa in FYROM, where four persons have been killed in a shooting between the police and drug smugglers – two Albanians from FYROM and another two from Kosmet.
The Belgrade media point that this incident has caused concern among the western diplomatic centers and in NATO central, worrying about the renewal of ethnic conflicts and new armed actions of the Albanian secessionists, who brought FYROM to the verge of civil war in 2001.
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