Irish peacekeepers ‘safe and accounted for’ as clashes break out in Kosovo

Italian and Hungarian soldiers were ‘subject of unprovoked attacks’ amid Serb demonstrations

Irish peacekeeping troops in Kosovo are “safe and well” after attacks by Serb demonstrators left some 25 Nato peacekeepers injured.

Violence escalated in northern Kosovo on Monday, where local Serb protesters clashed with police and later with Nato-led peacekeepers, leaving dozens of injured.

Some 13 Irish soldiers are serving with the peacekeepers, known as KFOR. A spokesman for the Department of Defence said there were no injuries to any Irish troops.

The Defence Forces press office also issued a short statement saying; “There are 13 Irish personnel deployed on the KFOR mission. No Irish personnel were involved in yesterdays incident and all Irish peacekeepers are safe and accounted for”.


Some Hungarian and Italian soldiers who were “countering the most active fringes of the crowd” became “the subject of unprovoked attacks and sustained trauma wounds with fractures and burns due to the explosion of incendiary devices,” Nato said.

“Such attacks are totally unacceptable,” Nato said in the statement. “KFOR will take all necessary actions to fulfil its UN mandate.”

The international force known as KFOR has been deployed in Kosovo since the 1998-99 war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians over Kosovo.

Serbs, who comprise a majority in Kosovo’s north, have never accepted its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and still see Belgrade as their capital more than two decades after the Kosovo Albanian uprising against repressive Serbian rule.

The violence erupted as Serb protesters tried to block newly elected ethnic-Albanian mayors from reaching their offices.

–Additional reporting by Bloomberg

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist