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Wednesday, June 23, 1999 Published at 00:23 GMT 01:23 UK


Gurkha family 'shattered'

Gurkhas were among the first Nato troops in Kosovo

The father of one of the two Gurkhas killed in Kosovo has spoken about the accident that has "shattered" his family.

Brits in Balkans
Deputy head teacher John Evans said his family had still not fully grasped the extent of the tragedy.

His son, Lieutenant Gareth Evans, was with Sergeant Balaram Rai and two Kosovo Albanians when they were killed by an explosion while moving Nato ordnance from a school.

They planned to move the unexploded bombs away from the school before destroying them in a controlled blast.

Ben Brown reports: "It's Nato's task to pick up the litter of war"
Mr Evans said: "We are unable to comprehend this tragedy. We cannot believe that we will not be able to see or talk to Gareth again.

"His funeral will be an emotional time for us all. We are extremely proud of Gareth's contribution to the Nato force in Kosovo.

"We extend our sympathies to the families of the men killed with him."

Sandhurst trained

The two British soldiers arrived in Kosovo with 69 Gurkha Field Squadron two weeks ago.

Kosovo: Special Report
They agreed to move the bombs after a local doctor begged them not to add to the devastation in Negrovce village, 30km south of the regional capital, Pristina.

Lt Evans, 25, had been a serving soldier since 1997. He attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst before joining the Gurkhas and undertaking language training in Nepal.

He attended Downs School in Wraxall, near Bristol before going to Monmouth public school and studying mechanical engineering at Exeter University.

A keen sportsman, he played rugby for the Corps of Royal Engineers and hockey for his regiment. Lt Evans is survived by his parents and a sister.

Sgt Rai, a father of three, had served in Hong Kong, Brunei, and the Falklands before being posted to the Balkans.

The British Army is investigating the deaths, which were the first Nato fatalities since the alliance began peacekeeping duties in Kosovo.

Gurkhas were among the first Nato troops to enter Kosovo as part of the international peacekeeping force K-For.

They helped take control of high ground on the strategic road from Blace, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to Pristina.

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