A military officer of Albanian Armed Forces lost her life, while two other commandos have remained wounded from the explosion of dismantled ammunition during a NATO mission in Latvia.
The explosion claimed the life of second lieutenant Zarife Hasanaj. The contingent commander, major Klodian Tanushi and sergeant Julian Kapaj have remained wounded.
The Albanian contingent, who serves in the NATO battalion group in Latvia, was in charge of dismantling ammunition and explosive substances. After the tragic accident, this mission has been suspended indefinitely.
Defence Minister, Olta Xhaçka said that she was grieved about the death of second lieutenant Hasanaj, while wishing a quick recovery to the two wounded commandos, major Klodian Tanushi and sergeant Julian Kapaj.
The chief of staff of the Albanian Armed Forces, general brigadier Bardhyl Kollçaku offered details on the incident. He explained that the Albanian contingent is in Latvia as part of the Enhanced Forward Presence NATO mission. According to him, major Tanushi and sergeant Kapaj are under medical care in Camp Adazi base in Latvia.
As far as this incident is concerned, the general said that Albanian authorities are in touch with senior Latvian authorities and NATO’s allies in the mission.
Latvian commander: We’re not sure why it happened
After the death of the Albanian second lieutenant, the 32 year old Zarife Hasanaj, came the reaction of the Commander of Latvian Armed Forces, Leonid Kalinis. In a news conference, the senior Latvian commander offered details on the tragic event taken place on Monday morning at Adazi base.
He said that it’s still unclear how the mine, which claimed the life of the 32 year old Albanian commando, exploded. Kalinis announced that local police and armed forces have launched an investigation over the blast.
While the investigation is ongoing, training in the Adazi military base has been suspended until the causes of this tragic event are identified.
“This is one of those one in ten million cases. It’s a tragic incident. An inquiry will be launched. I have ordered a full inspection of the depot in order to find unexplored mines. Until then, all trainings will be suspended”, Kalinis said.
Asked if the victims and the family of the dead commando will be compensated, Kalinis said that compensation would be made in accordance with Albanian legislation. He also announced that Latvia is willing to take care of the transport of the dead commando back into the country.