20:57 / 20.07.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Military says string of suicides unrelated

Illustration, Croatian Army

Illustration, Croatian Army

Foto: Hrvoje Jelavić / PIXSELL

Croatia’s military said on Tuesday that a series of suicides among service members this year was unrelated to membership in the army and that the cases were unrelated.

Five members of Croatia's Armed Forces have committed suicide since the beginning of the year. The latest case is the death of a service woman in Vukovar-Srijem County. The Ministry of Defense said today the deaths were unrelated and do not appear to have any connection to their service in the armed forces.


"We are never going to know exactly what happened. In some cases, there are messages, letters. This might help us understand to some extent and of course we will try and apply that understanding in the future as much as we can,” said Maj. Gen. Ivica Olujić, the Director of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, told a news conference called to address the issue.


State Secretary at the Ministry of Defense Branko Hrg underscored that the military believed the cases were unrelated.


"We must repeat that none of these cases are connected. The cases are individual. These untimely deaths, in this manner, of people who were soldiers and citizens, are in no way linked to the service,” Hrg said.


Defense Minister Mario Banožić, who is on an official visit to the United States, offered his condolences to the families of the soldiers who took their own lives.


"The loss of any soldier is always a great loss for the armed forces and Croatia. Sadly, we are living in difficult times."


The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Zoran Milanović also suggested that the pandemic may have exacerbated the stress the soldiers were already under in what is already a tough job.


"Sadly, these things happen, especially during these psychologically difficult times, after a year and a half in isolation and living in abnormal conditions. Soldiers are people too, they have families and problems,” Milanović said.


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