UN probes shooting of 3 international police officers in Kosovo

18 April 2004

The United Nations Police Commissioner in Kosovo has begun an investigation into yesterday’s shooting incident in the town of Mitrovica that left three international police officers dead and almost a dozen others wounded.

Two female officers from the United States and one male officer from Jordan were killed, while 11 others – one Austrian and 10 from the US – who suffered gunshot wounds are receiving treatment, Police Commissioner Stefan Feller told a press conference today.

Mr. Feller said the shooting began about 3:20 p.m. Saturday as a group of 24 correctional officers left the Mitrovica Detention Centre after a routine training day. As a convoy of three cars left, at least one officer from a group of five Jordanian Special Police Unit officers on guard at the centre opened fire. The officers in the convoy returned fire.

Mr. Feller said the deceased Jordanian officer joined the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on 29 March, while most of the correctional officers in the convoy had arrived on 7 April and were undergoing pre-induction training.

He added that “a thorough investigation has been launched” into the shooting, but no conclusions could be drawn yet on the reasons behind it.

The senior UN envoy to Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said he was “deeply shocked and dismayed at the unfortunate death of dedicated professionals who have come such a great distance to help Kosovo on its road to the future.”

Today Mr. Holkeri visited two of the wounded – US nationals Ronald Hicks and Elizabeth Mechler – who are receiving treatment in a field hospital in southern Kosovo. He delivered a message of sympathy from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and voiced his condolences for the loss of their colleagues.

 

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