24 Apr 2008

British soldier charged with manslaughter over death of a Fijian comrade

11:40 am on 24 April 2008

A British soldier has been charged with manslaughter over the death of a Fijian comrade in Iraq.

The Ministry of Defence in Britain has confirmed the charge on Rifleman Aaron Kendrick.

Rifleman Edward Vakabua, who was 23 from Suva, Fiji, died in an incident on July the 6th last year, at a British base in Basra, Iraq.

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

He 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.

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 armoured vehicle instead of a Land Rover.

Vanua was caught in the explosion in the Basra district on the fourth of September 2006.