Accessibility links

Kosovo: Investigators Questioning Four Jordanians Over Police Shootings

  • Robert McMahon

http://gdb.rferl.org/A94387BC-F978-49E6-8135-C2A60BADDFBE_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/A94387BC-F978-49E6-8135-C2A60BADDFBE_mw800_mh600.jpg UN peacekeepers in Kosovo United Nations, 20 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Four Jordanian police officers are being held for questioning by UN investigators over a shooting incident between UN police officers in Kosovo that left three people dead.

UN police spokesman Neeraj Singh said yesterday that the immunity of the officers has been lifted so they can be questioned. If there is sufficient evidence, an international prosecutor will raise charges.

The Jordanians were among a group of five special police unit officers on guard at the Mitrovica detention center when the incident occurred on 17 April.

"We certainly hope that the sort of incidents that have happened elsewhere around the world are not affecting the work that is being done in our various peacekeeping missions by UN police, by UN troops."
UN police say one of the Jordanian group fired on a group of officers leaving the center after a training session. The second group included 21 correctional officers from the United States, one Austrian, and two Turkish officers. The second group then returned fire.

Killed in the short gun battle were two female U.S. police officers and the Jordanian who launched the attack. Ten other Americans and an Austrian officer were injured.

A UN spokesman in New York, Farhan Haq, told RFE/RL that no motive for the attack is yet known. He declined to comment directly on news reports suggesting the attack was motivated by U.S. policy in the Middle East.

"We certainly hope that the sort of incidents that have happened elsewhere around the world are not affecting the work that is being done in our various peacekeeping missions by UN police, by UN troops," Haq said.

The Americans were employed by Dyncorp, a private company that trains police, correctional, and judicial officers.

The company issued a statement saying the group that came under attack was finishing up its first day of job orientation. The statement said they were attacked "without warning and for unknown reasons."

The United States and Jordan have each contributed more than 400 officers to the 3,500-member international police force in Kosovo. The force has been under increasing strain due to the outburst of ethnic violence last month in the province, in which 19 people were killed.

Haq said the incident adds to UN worries in Kosovo.

"We hope that the UN police in Kosovo can continue to do their work as professionally as they have done in the past. It's been a hard time, and this incident is a further cause for concern, but we certainly hope and trust that this is an isolated matter," Haq said.

Haq said such incidents between UN personnel are rare. He said the last major incident involving police in Kosovo occurred in March 2003, when a Jordanian police officer fatally shot a fellow Jordanian officer and later committed suicide.

A delegation of Jordanian police officials has arrived in Kosovo to assist with the investigation.

The UN police force works alongside 6,000 local police officers.
XS
SM
MD
LG