Dutch to investigate Serb woman's death

AMSTERDAM, Jan 19, 2000 -- (Reuters) Dutch military police will investigate the death of a Serb woman from a heart attack after soldiers at a Dutch checkpoint in the western Kosovo town of Orahovac failed to help her, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Tuesday.

A relative of the 59-year old woman and a Serb doctor had asked the Dutch troops at the KFOR checkpoint to take the woman to a hospital in Kosovo Polje, but the soldiers did not arrange the transfer from the Serb enclave.

"KFOR units do not have a specific task relating to the medical care of the civilian population," the Defense Ministry said in a statement. But the Dutch troops had been instructed to assist in case of immediate life-threatening danger, it added.

A ministry spokesman declined to say if the woman had been suffering from heart failure at the moment the Dutch troops were asked for help, adding details of the incident were under investigation.

Once the inquiry was completed, the Dutch public prosecutor would decide whether or not to file a case, he said.

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