UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: January 24, 301 AP.

President admits Dignania has killed three; will release military reports.

President Okarvits today promised to reveal the details of the deaths of three Utanian soldiers while serving in Dignania, and admitted that he had concealed the deaths out of "respect for the mourning families".

The three men were killed in two separate skirmishes with communist rebels "well behind" the front lines, according to a Military Department spokesman. The three bodies of Private James Layton, Lieutenant Roger Prince, and Corporal David Kaye have since been returned to Utania for burial in the Rememberance Cemetary in Utan Krysaror opened by provisional-President Hope last April.

However, confidential sources say that General Gordain considers the non-disclosure of the deaths to the Utanian public a "slur on the names of these good men who died serving the noblest objective of peace". Insiders claim that Gordain was "incensed". This implies that President Okarvits may have concealed the deaths to keep public opinion in favour of the peacekeeping operation until a truce was announced, according to Parliamentary Opposition MPs.

President Okarvits said the two skirmishes were the only two that had taken fatal casualties, but up to twenty-three Utanian peacekeepers had been wounded in various duties in Dignania. Most injuries were not the result of battles with enemy rebels. He said that one of the battles was during the recent retreat of Allied forces during which rebels attempted to "secure" positions behind the front line. They were unsuccessful. The President said that details would be revealed later, but none of the declassified reports would disclose "sensitive information".

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)