British peacekeepers accused of theft

LONDON, Jun 26, 2000 -- (Reuters) Four British peacekeepers have been accused of stealing money and valuables from ethnic Albanian civilians at a checkpoint in Kosovo, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said on Monday. The four soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, a contingent in the international peacekeeping force in the southern Yugoslav province, have been separated and assigned to other duties. The civilians claim the soldiers took mobile phones, cameras and up to 10,000 pounds ($15,000) worth of Deutsche marks at a checkpoint in the provincial capital Pristina. "Because it was a four-man patrol and an allegation was made that money and effects were stolen, they are all under investigation," an Ministry of Defence spokesman said. "But we don't know yet whether it's one or more that actually are being accused." The Military Police special investigation branch was looking into the case. "It is a serious allegation. Beyond what they have done individually, it's the good name of the regiment and the British army," the spokesman said. The soldiers "would be dealt with quite severely" if the allegations proved true, he added.

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