Clinton mourns first US death

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The Independent Online

President Bill Clinton has expressed condolences to the widow of the first US soldier killed while on duty in Bosnia. The president spoke to Miriam Dugan, wife of Sergeant 1st Class Donald Dugan, by telephone on Sunday morning, said a White House spokesman, David Johnson.

Sgt Dugan, 38, of Belle Center, Ohio, was killed on Saturday in northern Bosnia. He was the ninth alliance soldier to die since Nato troops took over from the United Nations in the Balkans in December.

In Sarajevo, a spokesman for the Nato peace force corrected a previous official statement to make it clear that Dugan's death was not caused by a land mine. The spokesman said that Dugan apparently picked up a piece of unexploded ammunition from the side of the road and it exploded in his hands.

Stars and Stripes, the US military newspaper, said that Budingen, the military community in Germany where Sgt Dugan lived before deployment to Bosnia, has guards posted to check entering cars. Some residents said they did not want to talk to reporters, while others said the military asked them not to speak to the press.

"The base - which stands almost a ghost town with its soldiers deployed - had been accessible earlier this week, but on Sunday guards stopped every car that entered," the newspaper said.