Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Afghan troops and civilians surround RIR base after child death

Afghan soldiers and civilians have confronted troops at a Royal Irish Regiment base in Afghanistan following the death of child.

Trouble flared in the already volatile Sangin area of Helmand Province in the south of the country after indirect fire weapons used by British soldiers from the Parachute Regiment struck a mother and daughter.

Despite receiving urgent treatment from Royal Irish medics at a nearby joint Afghan National Army (ANA) and Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT) patrol base, the child died.

The death sparked outrage among local people and members of the ANA, who then surrounded the RIR base.

“Two ANA sergeants began to rally some of their fellow soldiers and direct their frustration towards the Royal Irish soldiers in the base,” an MoD spokesman said.

“As the evening wore on a crowd of local nationals gathered outside the patrol base, again fuelled by this small, discontented ANA group.

“Warnings were given by the locals for the ANA to move out of the base so they could deal with the UK troops left there.”

The Royal Irish troops pulled out to another base after coming under fire, where they remained until the situation had calmed down.

“A senior ANA officer was flown out to the patrol base and, having assessed the situation, placed the two ANA sergeants under arrest,” the MoD spokesman said.

“Once the ringleaders had been dealt with a meeting was arranged with the local elders to discuss the incident.

“This meeting concluded that the death of the child and the injuries to her mother were purely accidental and the Royal Irish soldiers in the patrol base had done all they could to assist those injured.”

The incident occurred at the end of June. Last month six RIR soldiers were injured in a roadside bombing. Another member of the regiment also lost a leg during an attack in the same area earlier in the month.

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