UPDATED: Both local and military police have launched investigations after a NATO soldier from the Netherlands was found dead in barracks set up for Dutch soldiers at the Skjold military base in Målselv, Northern Norway. A Norwegian defense department official later called it “an unexpected death of a relatively young man.”
The body of the 42-year-old man has been sent to the university hospital in Trondheim for autopsy. He’d been one of the roughly 3,000 soldiers sent to Norway for NATO winter exercises that ended up being cancelled after nearly 100 cases of imported Corona infection were found among them. Many are still in Norway, awaiting return to their home countries, according to Norwegian defense spokesman Thomas Gjesdal. The Dutch troop isn’t due to return until late March or April, Gjesdal said.
The Dutch solidier was found dead by fellow soldiers on Saturday, who were said to be “deeply affected” by the loss of a colleague. A spokesman for the Dutch military police said told state broadcaster NRK that they’d called in reinforcements and were “cooperating with our Norwegian colleagues, but it’s mainly our investigation.”
Around 500 soliders from the Netherlands were taking part in the NATO exercise that was cancelled on January 26. Gjesdal said that none of the Dutch soldiers still in Norway is infected with the Corona virus. He confirmed that both local civilian police and the Dutch military police were trying to find out the reason for the soldier’s death and the circumstances around it.