Australian contractor killed in Iraq

An Australian security contractor and a British colleague have been shot dead in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

Former Australian Defence Force member Darren Hoare, from Amberley, west of Brisbane in south-east Queensland, was working for the British security company ArmorGroup Iraq.

ArmorGroup says he was shot dead along with British man Paul McGuigan.

Mr Hoare’s wife and three children have been notified of his death.

The British embassy in Baghdad says the men were shot dead in the early hours of morning inside the Green Zone – which is home to foreign embassies and government offices.

An embassy spokesman says an Iraqi was also wounded.

Christopher Beese, the director of human resources for G4S Risk Management – a division of ArmorGroup – confirmed that two other British staff members of the firm were being held by the Iraqi police.

“One I understand is being held as a suspect, the other one is simply helping with inquiries,” Mr Beese said.

“We understand that it’s quite possible one man was responsible for both deaths and for later injuring an Iraqi security officer.”

The security company says it is working with Iraqi authorities to investigate the shooting incident.

An Iraqi military spokesman says the incident started as a squabble.

Mr Hoare first went to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Australian Air Force in the early days of the war.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs says that it is liaising with Iraqi authorities.

Mr Beese says Mr Hoare was experienced in his job.

“Darren Hoare first went to Iraq with the Australian Air Force as a ground defence expert specialising in close protection,” he said.

“So he’d already done an official tour in Iraq in the early stages of the conflict and then moved across to offer his expertise to the private sector.

“He’s been with us for a number of years. He’s a seasoned close protection officer and had escorted engineers throughout Iraq. A very competent man.”

He says the men’s families have been dignified in their response to the deaths.

“It is perhaps the worst call they will ever receive in their lives,” he said.

“It is something that shocked them initially but they are dignified, they are truly related to their menfolk who face the risks; they will themselves have heard about the risks over the years.

“The risks aren’t a surprise, the surprise is when it’s their man. And it’s a tragic thing that we have to tell them and it’s an awful thing for them to have to hear.”

Mr Hoare’s brother Rodney says family members are too distressed to comment further.