Oman says American was killed by his family

Monday, January 5, 2004

ABU DHABI Oman asserts that an American found dead in the Muscat region was ordered killed by his family.

U.S. officials said the U.S. embassy in Muscat has received the Omani police report. But they said the State Department has not yet accepted this version of the killing of the U.S. national.

Over the weekend, Oman said it determined that the unidentified American national, an employee with an oil company in the sultanate, was ordered killed by his wife and son. Omani authorities said Omani nationals were hired to kill the American last week.

The American was found dead in the Muscat governorate on Wednesday and Omani security sources said several suspects have confessed to the killing. The sources said authorities solved the killing within 36 hours of the discovery of the body.

"All the accused have confessed to Royal Omani Police investigators and material evidence has been seized," an Omani security source said. "Once the procedures are completed, the case will be referred to prosecutors."

The State Department has confirmed that an American was found dead in Muscat on Dec. 31. But as of Friday the department said Oman had not relayed details of the death.

"We don't have details on the circumstances of the death, and we'd refer you to the Royal Oman police, who are investigating it," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said.

Ereli did not rule out that the American was killed in an Islamic insurgency attack. About 1,500 Americans, most of them military personnel, live in Oman.

The Omani sources said the killing of a German national in Muscat on Dec. 5 did not constitute an Islamic insurgency attack. They said Omani authorities have arrested suspects and determined that the killing was a domestic affair.

"The investigations have revealed the circumstances of the crime and the evidence has proved that the crime was a family dispute," an Omani police official said. "In that case as well the police have detained suspects."

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