UK SOLDIER CHARGED IN FIJIAN SOLDIER’S DEATH

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Manslaughter for accidental shooting in Iraq

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 25, 2008) – A British soldier has been charged with manslaughter following the death of a Fijian comrade in Iraq.

The Ministry of Defence in Britain has confirmed the charge on Rifleman Aaron Kendrick by the Army Prosecuting Authority.

Fiji-born Rifleman Edward Vakabua, 23, died instantly in an incident on July 6 last year, at a British base in Basra, Iraq.

Kendrick is suspected of shooting Vakabua in the head with a gun he did not believe was loaded.

Britain’s The Sun newspaper reported Kendrick cocked, aimed and fired the weapon inside barracks as "a stupid joke" because he had no idea the L96 high-velocity rifle was loaded as he pointed it at Vakabua while he slept a few yards away in Basra.

A month before his tragic death, Vakabua saved a wounded soldier’s life.

Meanwhile, Kendrick currently remains at his post.

The accused is due to appear for a plea and directions hearing before a court martial at a date to be set in the near future.

If convicted, he faces a long spell in the Glasshouse – the military’s prison at Colchester, Essex.

Last week a coroner’s court in Britain recorded a verdict of unlawful killing in the case of another Fiji soldier killed in Iraq while serving in the British army.

The coroner said Samuela Vanua would not have died as a result of an insurgent bomb blast, had he been travelling in a Warrior armored vehicle instead of a Land Rover.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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