19 March 2004

Namibia: US Friend of Namibia Killed in Iraq

Windhoek — A UNITED States Peace Corps volunteer, Fern Holland (33), who worked at Omanutai Combined School in Oshana from 1999 to 2001, has become one of the first US civilians to be killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion of that country a year ago.

Associated Press reports that Holland, as well as as an yet unnamed US citizen and an unidentified translator, were shot and killed by gunmen posing as Iraqi police at a makeshift checkpoint near the town of Hillah, about 60 kilometres south of Baghdad, on March 9.

An attorney by profession, Fern completed her law degree at the University of Tulsa College in 1996 and worked at two law firms in Tulsa before joining the Peace Corps and coming to Namibia in 1999.

She returned to the US after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Her job in Iraq involved investigating human rights violations and helping to write the section on women's rights in the new Iraqi constitution.

A firm believer in human rights, she e-mailed a friend in January: "If I die, know that I am doing precisely what I want to be doing."

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