UNHCR bus attacked
Two elderly persons, a man and a woman, were killed and five persons were injured on Wednesday when an anti-tank rocket struck a UNHCR bus carrying 49 passengers over foggy roads near the village of Cubrilj between Mitrovica and Banja.
The white UNHCR bus, which has been operating weekly since November 1999, was under the escort of two KFOR armoured vehicles when the attack took place at 4:00 p.m.
Since the first UNHCR bus line was inaugurated last October, UNHCR has been shuttling thousands of Kosovo civilians weekly between isolated communities across the province on eight different routes all escorted by KFOR personnel. This was the first incident of its kind.
"I am horrified by this incident," said Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs/UNHCR Special Envoy Dennis McNamara. "This was a vicious attack on a clearly-marked UNHCR bus carrying civilians."
"We are suspending all UNHCR bus lines operating in Kosovo while this attack is being investigated," McNamara said. "The bus lines have been a key part of UNHCR's strategy to provide freedom of movement for populations living in Kosovo's isolated enclaves."
The wounded, all Kosovo Serbs, were immediately evacuated by KFOR to the French military hospital in Mitrovica. The Danish driver of the bus, an employee of the Danish Refugee Council, was unhurt in the attack.
KFOR personnel are investigating the incident and have closed the road where the attack took place.
Issued by UNHCR Pristina.