British major killed in Afghan renegade attack: ministry

15th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British major commanding a company of Gurkha soldiers was among three servicemen killed on their base in southern Afghanistan by a renegade Afghan soldier, officials in London said Wednesday.

Major James Joshua Bowman, 34, was killed early Tuesday as he slept in the base in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The Afghan soldier then fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the base's command centre, killing Lieutenant Neal Turkington, 26, a British junior commander with the battalion, and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun, 33, from Nepal.

The soldiers were serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Four other soldiers serving with the British army are also understood to have been wounded in the grenade attack.

The Afghan soldier who carried out the attack is still on the run.

The commanding officer of the battalion paid tribute to Major Bowman.

"Our battalion has lost a brave leader," said Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland.

"Since his arrival in Afghanistan, he led his company deep into enemy-controlled territory again and again.

"It is a bitter irony that after driving the insurgents back throughout this area, he was gunned down as he slept in the supposed security of his patrol base."

© 2010 AFP

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