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Officer dies in Kosovo

New Delhi, Aug. 5: A deputy commandant of the Border Security Force, on duty in Kosovo with the United Nations peacekeeping force, was shot dead by a sniper yesterday.

Satish Menon, who was travelling in a jeep with a British colleague, was killed when they were shot at on the Leposavic-Kosovska Mirtovica Road yesterday night. Reports reaching South Block said the jeep was clearly marked a UN vehicle. The vehicle was fired at when it was passing through the Albanian village of Seranjski Potok, near Zvecan.

There are 480 Indian security personnel on duty in Kosovo as part of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). But this is the first time since 1999 that a policeman has been killed.

Menon’s body is being flown from Pristina by a Turkish flight to Dubai from where it will be flown to Cochin by an Air-India flight on Thursday.

Menon and his British colleague were going to a UN check post on the Kosovo-Serbia border at Satlina. The bullet pierced Menon’s neck, damaging his heart and lungs and resulting in his immediate death.

In a condolence message to Menon’s family and the Indian government, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has said the guilty must be brought to justice for this “appalling act”.

Annan asked all concerned to cooperate with the UN mission to investigate into the circumstances of the “brutal murder”.

Another UN vehicle which was following theirs was also fired on. But there were no reports of injury.

Menon’s killing was condemned by Albanian and Serbian politicians. The President of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, described the assassination as “a crime committed by extremists who are against progress in Kosovo” and demanded that the perpetrators be identified and punished immediately. The UNMIK and the local policemen are investigating the killing.

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