British mines expert arrested in Albania

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The Independent Online

The UK head of a charity which runs mine-clearing courses around the world has been arrested in Albania after two pupils died in an explosion.

The UK head of a charity which runs mine-clearing courses around the world has been arrested in Albania after two pupils died in an explosion.

Graham Rees, 45, from Aberconwy in North Wales, was working for the French humanitarian group Handicap International. Six people were critically injured and seven others hurt in the blast in the northern city of Kukes on Monday.

A spokesman for the charity insisted yesterday that Mr Rees was not in the country when the device exploded. They say he returned from neighbouring Kosovo after the accident intending to help in any subsequent investigation, and was arrested.

Bosnian Emin Durakovic, 40, Mr Rees's technical assistant, was also arrested. Both are due to be charged today.

The police spokeswoman Edlira Teferici said: "The two could probably bear responsibility for the deaths because no live ordnance can be used at a training, and using that shows a lack of care in choosing the proper means of training."

Bob Howell, head of the charity's mines unit, based in Lyon, France, said: "Graham is vastly experienced and gained his skills working for the British Army. He received his MBE in recognition of his expertise. We will co-operate fully with the investigation but we have full confidence in the professionalism of our personnel."

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