Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another security firm involved in Iraq shooting

Taken from The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 10 October 2007

A foreign security company staffed mainly by Australian guards said one of its security teams was involved in Tuesday's fatal shooting in central Baghdad.

The Iraqi government said two women were shot dead by foreign security guards.

The scene of the incident was near a base of Unity Resources Group (URG), which is staffed mainly by Australian guards.

The Australian head of the security company, Michael Priddin, confirmed the company had been involved in the shooting incident.

"We deeply regret this incident and we will continue to pass on further information when the facts have been verified and the necessary people and authorities have been notified," Mr Priddin told ABC Radio this morning.

Mr Priddin said the exact circumstances of the incident were still to be determined and the company was working with Iraqi authorities to do so.

"In essence, what we know is that one of our security teams was involved in a shooting incident on Tuesday at approximately 1.40 in the afternoon in the Karrada area of Baghdad," he said.

"One of our security teams which was mobile was approached at speed by a vehicle which had failed to stop despite an escalation of warnings which included hand signals and signal flares.

Finally shots were fired at the vehicle and the vehicle itself stopped."

Security organisations in Iraq are under intense scrutiny after guards from the US security firm Blackwater allegedly opened fire without provocation in Baghdad last month and killed 17 people while escorting a convoy of US diplomats.

Several witnesses said the convoy had headed in the direction of the URG base - a hotel complex sealed off behind high concrete walls and sand bags.

Well you couldn't make it up... The fact is that over the years while British and American soldiers have faced courts martial over alleged crimes carried out in Iraq, not one security contractor has been prosecuted at home or in Iraq despite a significant number of allegations of abuse. The media have only recently been tuning into these stories.

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