French NATO soldier in Kosovo commits suicide

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A French peacekeeper of NATO's KFOR troops killed himself in northern Kosovo at a disputed border crossing in the Serb-majority north, NATO and French officials said Monday.

KFOR spokesman Frank Martin said a probe "concluded that he committed suicide by firearm."

The French army office of the chiefs of staff said later Monday that the soldier was a French non-commissioned officer who shot himself Saturday at the Jarinje border crossing.

NATO troops are heavily engaged in the north to maintain security as local Serbs have for weeks been manning 16 barricades blocking access to sensitive border gates with Serbia, preventing Pristina from deploying its police and customs officers there.

A trade row spilled over into violence in late July when Pristina ordered its security forces to take over two crossings on the border with Serbia to enforce a newly imposed ban on Serbian goods.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 but Serbia still considers the breakaway territory its southern province.

© 2011 AFP

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