Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Zealand soldier killed in Afghanistan vehicle crash....

A New Zealand soldier has been killed and three others injured in a vehicle accident in Afghanistan.

The Defence Force has named soldier killed as Private Kirifi Mila, who had been due to return to New Zealand in April this year.

Private Kirifi Mila was due to return home in April.
It says the soldiers were patrolling in north-east Bamyan province when their Humvee rolled down a cliff.
Private Mila was a gunner positioned on the roof of the Humvee.

One of the injured soldiers has broken ribs and another has eye socket injuries and head injuries.
The Defence Force says the accident had no connection with insurgent activity and vehicle accidents are a common problem in Afghanistan.

Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says Private Mila's family has been informed and are devastated by the news.
Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says the death is sad news, as every soldier's life is very precious.

Prime Minister John Key says he is shocked and saddened by the death. He says the Defence Force in Afghanistan is operating in a dangerous and difficult environment.

Visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also paid tribute to Private Mila, telling Parliament that Australia grieves for New Zealand soldiers as it grieves for its own.

In August last year, Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell was killed and two others seriously injured when their four-vehicle convoy was attacked by insurgents also in Bamyan province.

Acknowledgements:  © 2011, Radio New Zealand

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