Second Albanian soldier dies in NATO drills – Suffers continued decline of prestige in Latvia

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RIGA -At the Eastern Clinical University Hospital, the second soldier of the armed forces of Albania, Major Clodian Tanushi, died of injuries sustained on May 6th. While at the NATO military base in Adazhi, he participated in an exercise where the unit was ‘neutralizing munitions.’

The civilian police launched a criminal investigation. NATO exercises are considered highly problematic by numerous local inhabitants, and others have speculated there may exist ethnic tensions between Albanian soldiers and locals. It is not reported at this time that police suspect foul play.

“In this difficult moment I want to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends, colleagues and people of Albania. I want to thank the doctors of the intensive care unit and the staff of the hospital staff who did everything to save the life of a soldier. Latvia is very grateful to its ally Albania for its contribution to the expansion of the presence of military contingent and NATO combat group in our region, ” said the Minister of Defense of Latvia Artis Pabriks .

“I express the deepest support and condolences to the relatives of the deceased, his comrades in service, the armed forces of Albania and the Albanian people. For any nation, the loss of a warrior is difficult, and we share this loss with our allies, ”stressed the commander of the National Armed Forces, Leonid Kalnins . The NAF commander also said that an internal investigation had begun, and until its completion, all the exercises at the Adazi training range were stopped. The police began a criminal process about the incident.

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As previously reported, the soldiers of the Albanian contingent in Latvia were engaged in neutralizing ammunition and at the time of the explosion they were preparing the territory for training. The incident occurred on Monday, at 9.30, in which three Albanian military personnel suffered. As a result of the explosion of a mine, Senior Lieutenant of the Albanian Armed Forces Zarifa Hasanai died , her body was taken home on May 9th. The third victim, Sergeant Julian Kapai, received an insignificant wound and, after rendering emergency aid, left the hospital on the same day.

On May 8, Olban Jachka, the Minister of Defense of Albania, visited Latvia . She visited an injured soldier in the Riga hospital, and also met with Albanian military personnel who had lost a comrade. During the visit, the Minister of Defense of Albania also met with the head of the joint headquarters of the National Armed Forces of Latvia, Major General Ivo Mogilny , the leadership and officers of the combat group of the expanded NATO presence in Latvia.

In Latvia, about 20 sappers from Albania are serving in the structure of the NATO combat group in it. The press service of the Ministry of Defense explained that the military in this group do not participate in the daily neutralization of explosive objects. Exceptions are military exercises.

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