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Canada Soldier Poisoned by Comrades

May 30, 2000

OTTAWA (AP) _ A Canadian soldier who returned from Croatia with mysterious ailments was poisoned in 1993 by his fellow troops, a military investigator said Tuesday.

``A number of identified soldiers did, in fact, place substances such as naphtha, antifreeze, anti-irritant eye drops ... and boot blackener in coffee intended to be consumed by Matt Stopford,″ said Russ Grabb, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who conducted the military investigation.

``The alleged motive for these acts was to temporarily render him unable to carry out his position of command,″ he added.

Grabb said a three-year statute of limitations prevented the military from charging anyone in the poisoning case.

Stopford, who served as a warrant officer in Croatia, is blind in one eye and suffers from unexplained bleeding and joint problems.

Similar ailments among other peacekeepers raised accusations that they were exposed to toxic waste or other hazardous material in Croatia. A separate military inquiry found no hazardous material in soil samples taken last summer from the areas in Croatia where the Canadians served.

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