The Age
US soldier shoots Kosovo Albanian child

Tuesday July 11 2000


PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - An American soldier accidentally shot and killed a five-year-old ethnic Albanian boy today, a spokesman for the Kosovo peacekeeping force KFOR said.

'Today a Kosovar Albanian child was accidentally shot by a KFOR US soldier at the village of Cerkez Sadovina,' US major Scott Slaten said.

'The boy was immediately evacuated to the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital at Camp Bondsteel. Doctors worked feverishly to save his life but were unsuccessful.'

Slaten said that the commander of US troops in Kosovo, General Randal Tieszen, had gone immediately to the hospital to monitor the boy's progress and had expressed his regrets to the child's parents.

The accident happened at 1.30pm (9.30pm AEST) and the boy was declared dead at 2.45pm, Slaten said.

The boy was shot when a member of a team of soldiers mending a fence at Sadovina School accidentally discharged a three-round burst from his weapon, according to a statement released in Pristina by KFOR's Spanish commanding officer Lieutenant General Juan Ortuno.

He was hit in the chest with at least one round, the statement said.

'A full investigation into this tragic accident is currently ongoing,' Ortuno said.

'I know every one of my soldiers will be shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident. I am certain that they would wish to join me in taking this opportunity to extend our heart-felt sympathy to the boy's parents and school friends.'

Cerkez Sadovina is a village in the east of Kosovo, 10 kilometres west of Vitina.



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