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'Friendly fire' kills woman soldier

Friday, 26 October 2012 - 4:12pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
A female soldier who dreamt of joining the Army as a schoolgirl has been killed in Afghanistan in what appeared on Thursday to have been a case of friendly fire.

A female soldier who dreamt of joining the Army as a schoolgirl has been killed in Afghanistan in what appeared on Thursday to have been a case of friendly fire.

Corporal Channing Day, 25, from 3 Medical Regiment, became the third British woman soldier to die in the country since the conflict began more than a decade ago.

One of her two sisters, Laken, said: "I am the proudest sister ever, her legacy will live on."

Cpl Day, from Comber, near Belfast, was killed with Cpl David O'Connor, 27, a Royal Marine from 40 Commando, after her unit shot an Afghan policeman by mistake, according to local police.

The policeman, who was not wearing his uniform and was carrying a gun, went to wash his hands in preparation for prayers about 50 yards from his checkpoint. Cpl Day's unit mistook him for a Taliban insurgent and opened fire, local officials said.

Farid Ahmad Farhang, a spokesman for the provincial police, said another British unit on patrol nearby assumed it was under attack and fired back, killing Cpl Channing and the Royal Marine. The circumstances surrounding the deaths remained confused, however. Other reports claimed that the dead policeman's colleagues returned fire, while British officers were also investigating the possibility that the patrol was deliberately attacked by the policemen.

All the Ministry of Defence would say about the incident was that the soldiers died as a result of "small arms fire". The deaths followed a series of "green on blue" attacks, in which Afghan police or soldiers have turned their weapons on their Nato partners.

Cpl Channing had been determined to join the Army from her first day at secondary school.

Paul Maxwell, acting principle at Strangford Integrated College in Carrodore, said she received a "glowing report" after she did a week's work experience with the Forces. She also represented Northern Ireland Ladies Football at junior level.

Maxwell added: "She came into school and said, 'I want to join the Army'. She was an excellent sportsman, a very active, outgoing girl. It is hard to believe that someone so young can be killed in those circumstances."

 




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