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Middle east

British and Australian security contractors shot dead in Baghdad

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-10

One British and an Australian security contractor were shot dead in Baghdad's secure "Green Zone," the British embassy has said. The role of such private security guards came under scrutiny over a shooting in 2007 involving US firm Blackwater.

AFP - One British and an Australian security contractor were killed in a shooting in the Iraqi capital's secure "Green Zone" early on Sunday, a British embassy official said.
  
The men, employees of UK-based firm ArmorGroup, were shot dead in the early hours of the morning in the heavily fortified area home to foreign embassies and government offices, embassy spokesman Jawad Syed told AFP.
  
"We're looking into an incident... involving some Brits. As far as I know we have two fatalities. One British and one Australian," Syed said, adding that one Iraqi was wounded in the shooting.
  
Two other Britons "believed" to be employees of ArmorGroup are being held as suspects by Iraqi police, he added.
  
ArmorGroup in a statement confirmed the deaths in a "firearms incident," identifying the Briton as Paul McGuigan and the Australian as Darren Hoare.
  
"Their next of kin have been informed and we are supporting them as much as we can in these tragic circumstances," company spokesman Patrick Toyne-Sewell said in the statement.
  
"We are working closely with the Iraqi authorities to investigate the circumstances of their deaths."
  
Foreign security contractors are a common sight in Iraq, working as protection forces for foreign companies, embassies and even US bases.
  
The role of private security guards came under intense scrutiny over a deadly shooting in Baghdad in 2007 involving employees of the US company Blackwater, since renamed Xe.
  
The incident led the Iraqi government to revoke the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by private contractors.
  
In June this year five Americans working for a security company in Baghdad were cleared of suspicion over the fatal stabbing of 60-year-old US citizen James Kitterman.

Date created : 2009-08-09

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