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Judge Reports Progress in Hammarskjold Crash Inquiry

The list of countries to be approached to appoint officials, the statement said, “might well be augmented to include Zambia, Portugal, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

In addition, it said, “independent observers will surely urge Judge Othman to target international corporations involved in the extractive industries at the time of the crash of Hammarskjold’s aircraft and their successor companies.”

It was not clear why previous inquiries had not sought input from the companies, such as Belgium’s Union Minière, that competed for access to the region’s mineral reserves and were closely involved in its politics.

Judge Othman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the statement from the United Nations Association, an independent group that has strongly supported efforts to resolve the Hammarskjold mystery.

When the plane crashed, Mr. Hammarskjold was heading for Ndola on the night of Sept. 18, 1961, to pursue negotiations aimed at ending a secession that had won some covert Western support. At the time, a civil war raging in Katanga had drawn in United Nations forces as well as local gendarmes and an array of pro-secession mercenaries, including pilots flying warplanes including French-built jets.

One theory that has yet to be completely disproved is that one of those jets either flew close to or fired on Mr. Hammarskjold’s DC-6. Other accounts have suggested that its crew miscalculated the plane’s altitude, or that it was sabotaged.

Source: NYT > World

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