Da The Daily Star del 09/11/2006
Originale su http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&am...

UNIFIL investigates reports of thefts by Italian troops

di Mohammed Zaatari

BINT JBEIL: UNIFIL's military police are investigating reports that a group of Italian troops in Hariss, near Bint Jbeil, stole more than $300 in merchandise from a shop in the village.

In the village of Hariss in the qada of Bint Jbeil, soldiers from the Italian contingent allegedly walked into a shop that sells military apparel and gear and pocketed over $300 in merchandise.

The shop's owner, Moussa Souweidan, said eight Italian soldiers engaged in "military tactics" to shoplift from his store, meaning one group distracted him while another attempted to provide cover for a third group that loaded their pockets with various items.

Souweidan realized that something was up when he noticed that the Italian soldiers' shopping bags contained a lot more items than what they had paid for. The shop owner also noticed that a number of items, including boots displayed outside the store, were missing.

Souweidan confronted and accused the peacekeepers of stealing but was prevented by the soldiers from searching their vehicle for the stolen goods.

A quick call was then made to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, who arrived on the scene along with some members of the UN's military police.

"The security forces, along with the military police, attempted to shush the whole issue, and promised they would pay me compensation for the stolen goods," Souweidan told The Daily Star.

Speaking to The Daily Star Wednesday, UNIFIL spokesperson Milos Strugar said: "UNIFIL is aware of the case and it is currently under investigation by the UNIFIL military police."

A UNIFIL source told The Daily Star the incident was "a solitary act," and such incidents "could be controlled by imposing strict military laws."

Meanwhile, local news reports said a Spanish patrol attempted to search a home in Khiam late Tuesday.

This is the second time patrols from UNIFIL's Spanish contingent have allegedly entered the inner roads of villages to search homes in search of arms. The first claim was made in Houla on Monday.

But Strugar denied the reports, as he had earlier this week, saying: "There were absolutely no searches on houses or attempts to search," he said, adding that such reports were "dangerous" for the mission.

A group of Khiam residents denounced the alleged searches during a protest held Wednesday in front of the local municipality to call upon the Lebanese Army for protection.

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su Adnkronos del 11/10/2006
 
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