Wife of murdered aid worker keeps silent in family home

14th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Lined with pastel-coloured houses, the quiet street in a suburb of the small Croatian town where British aid worker David Haines lived is a world away from the raw desert where he met his end.

Inside his home -- a two-storey house white, the red bricks of its unfinished attic still visible -- his wife Dragana Prodanovic is holed up with their four-year-old daughter.

"Looking at his girl is like looking at my own grandchildren," said a neighbour in his 60s, looking visibly shaken.

"After this, we wonder where this world is going," he added.

Outside the house in the town of Sisak, some 60 kilometres (36 miles) southwest of Zagreb, children's toys lie scattered around the small garden. From an apple tree, an empty swing dangles in the breeze.

Nearby a handful of journalists wait under the watchful eye of police, hoping to catch a glance of Prodanovic, who has avoided speaking to the press since news of Haines's death was made public.

Islamic State militants released a video Saturday showing his beheading, the third Western hostage to be killed by the militants in less than a month.

"I still can't believe that they killed him. Oh my God," said another neighbour, a 64-year old woman, who identified herself only as Ljubica.

"When he was here he used to sit in front of the house and always waved and smiled to me when I was passing by," she said.

"They were nice couple, got along well," she said, adding that Haines was "always in a good mood and smiling".

The couple met after Haines moved to Croatia in 2000 to work for the German humanitarian organisation Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB) in the central towns of Petrinja, Knin and Sisak.

They were wed in 2010 -- Haines's second marriage -- and opened a company selling kitchen and household equipment together.

He was working in Syria for the Paris-based NGO Acted when he was seized by militants in March 2013, along with an Italian colleague, Federico Motka.

Most neighbours who spoke to AFP asked not to be named, saying they feared for their own security.

"They lived as an average Croatian family," a man who lived across the road told AFP, before quickly walking away.


© 2014 AFP

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