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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 17:52 GMT
Piping up over noise threat
Piper
Amateur pipers will not be affected by the move
Scottish troops are using bagpipes as the latest weapon against violence and terrorism in the Balkans.

Members of 1st Battalion The Highlanders used the pipes as an "advertising gimmick" to implement an arms amnesty in Kosovo, Yugoslavia.

The company sent a lone piper through villages around Pristina to attract attention before troops handed out leaflets explaining how and why illegal weapons should be surrendered.

Weapons collected in the month-long amnesty, which ended this week, are to be cut up and melted down at a Dutch-funded furnace in Janjevo.

Lance Corporal Albert Brown, 32, from Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, played lively marching tunes including The Heights Of Casino and Piobairachd Donald Dhu.

He said villagers were "intrigued" by the instrument.

"As far as I'm aware, there is no instrument similar to the pipes in this part of the world and they were intrigued, to say the least," he said.

"The kids came up to me and wanted to see what it was all about but the adults were a little more reserved - they stood in their doorways and listened.

"It was good advertising gimmick for the weapons amnesty and it was a good chance for us to show the local population that we are human and we are approachable."

British troops are in Kosovo as part of Kfor, the international force on peacekeeping duties since the 1999 Nato bombing campaign against former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

Following the ousting of Milosevic, thousands of Serbians fled the region and it is thought dozens were murdered in Albanian reprisals.

Kfor's mission is to create a safe and secure environment in which Serbs feel able to live and work without fear of violence.

Thousands of ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo are believed to have secret arsenals of weapons including AK47s, grenades and armour-piercing shells.

Kfor commander General Marcel Valentin said the amnesty had recovered "hundreds" of rifles and "thousands" of rounds of ammunition.

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Tory MEP Struan Stevenson
"It's this king of daft regulation which gives Brussels a bad name"
See also:

05 Mar 02 | Scotland
Piping up over noise threat
11 Aug 01 | Scotland
Canadian pipe band takes the prize
05 Jul 01 | Scotland
Pipers to perform in Big Apple
24 May 01 | Scotland
Scots piper bags Cannes criminal
25 Aug 00 | Scotland
Degree pipes in new era
05 Aug 00 | Scotland
Pipers break world record
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