2 Jun 2013

Defence Force Chief denies soldiers shot unarmed prisoners

4:58 pm on 2 June 2013

Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones, is denying a media report that New Zealand soldiers shot unarmed Afghan prisoners in a battle on 4 August last year.

Two New Zealanders, Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer died during the fighting in the dangerous north east of Bamiyan Province.

Lieutenant-General Jones says the interim findings of a military court of inquiry also suggest it is very unlikely New Zealand soldiers injured or killed Afghan intelligence officers or that fire from those officers injured or killed the New Zealanders, as has been reported.

Six New Zealand soldiers from the patrol were injured in the fighting.

Of the Afghan intelligence officers the patrol was coming to the aid of, four were killed and 10 Afghan soldiers were injured.

Lieutenant-General Jones says a military police investigation is ongoing and the findings of the court of inquiry are expected in a matter of weeks.