Kosovo authorities destroyed more than 2,000 small arms and rifles as part of an ongoing effort to increase security in the Balkan country.

The firearms, mostly guns, sniper rifles and AK-47 rifles, were thrown into a furnace in central Kosovo on Tuesday and melted to make manhole covers.

The weapons were seized in various police operations or used in crimes and stored in evidence rooms. Kosovo is awash with firearms left over from the 1998-99 war with Serbia and many are illegally in the hands of civilians.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians fought a separatist war against Serbia in 1998-99 and declared independence in 2008. Serbia rejects the move.

The territory was part of Yugoslavia, a country that disintegrated in a series of brutal ethnic wars during the 1990s.