Portugal: another case of Balkans syndrome?

Another Portuguese member of the forces which served in the Balkans in the 1990s has died. The 43-year-old policeman died at 12:30 on Wednesday from acute renal failure. First reports add that the renal failure was caused by meningitis. However, he had been under treatment for months…not exactly the classical symptoms of meningitis. Police Sub-Chief Manuel Valadas served two three-month missions in the Balkans (December 1997 to February 1998, and February to May 1999 in Sarajevo). A robust man, member of the Special Police Forces, he was said by colleagues to have had “a health of iron” until recent months, when he complained of back pains and tiredness. Last weekend, he took part in a shooting competition but he felt so weak that his family had to take him home. He had been complaining of pains in his back for some months and had already taken X-rays at the hospital. Despite receiving medication, he said that the back pains were worse. Sources at the hospital where he was treated confirmed that Manuel Valadas had been treated “for some months at the Hospital Amadora-Sintra” near Lisbon. According to this hospital “The first suspicions point towards kidney failure due to meningitis”. This was the same diagnosis given to a Portuguese corporal who died earlier this year. However, independent analyses showed that he died from toxic contamination. Whether or not soldiers and civilians are dying in areas where NATO used depleted uranium weapons or weapons containing plutonium due to radioactivity or toxicity is an issue which must be faced and one which should not, and will not, be dropped until the whole truth is public knowledge.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON

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