Tag Archives: soldiers

'Chennai Six' former British soldiers released after four years in Indian jail

'Chennai Six' former British soldiers released after four years in Indian jailSix former British soldiers working as part of a private security team protecting ships from piracy have been released from prison in India after serving four years for possessing weapons. The "Chennai Six", who  had all previously served in either the Parachute or Yorkshire Regiments, were acquitted on Monday and told by a judge to apply to get their passports returned, ending a long wait for them and their families in the UK. Billy Irving, 37, Nick Dunn, 31, John Armstrong, 30, Nicholas Simpson, 47, Ray Tindall, 42, and Paul Towers, 54, were among 35 imprisoned in October 2013 while working as security on commercial ships to protect against pirates in the Indian Ocean. They were jailed in 2013 along with 14 Estonian, 12 Indian and three Ukrainian colleagues when their vessel, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, was boarded by the Indian Navy for entering its waters without permission. All the men worked for AdvanFort, a maritime security company. Indian authorities found weapons and ammunition on board and the men were charged with possession of illegal firearms. Following an initial conviction the charges were quashed when the men argued they had the right permits and clearance for them as they were an anti-piracy unit. Yvonne McHugh, centre, the girlfriend of Billy Irving who is being held in a prison in Chennai in India, is joined by family members of other prisoners of the so-called Chennai Six ahead of the verdict in their appeal Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA But they they were later reconvicted when a lower court reinstated the charges, as the Indian justice system, both in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and nationally, moved their case between courts and judges. Monday’s decision by the Madurai bench of the High Court in Chennai said the 35 crew members could now apply to get back their passports. Money spent on fines would also be reimbursed, the court ruled. David McMullen, Coordinator for the 'Chennai6' Campaign, said: “Absolutely fantastic news. It was a bit of a blur for a second when I first heard. Having campaigned for so long and seen what the families have gone through it’s amazing we’ve finally got them free.” On hearing the news at their family home in Britain, Yvonne McHugh, partner of Billy Irving said she was over the moon. “They’ve all been acquitted, all 35 of them,” she said. “We are just waiting to hear how soon they’ll be home. That’s the biggest hurdle we faced and all of them have been acquitted.” Lisa Dunn, the sister of Nick Dunn, said: "The longer it went on, as much as you still have an element of hope, it does dwindle after having so many delays and setbacks. It will make all of our Christmases. All of our dreams have come true today." Downing Street welcomed the decision. Theresa May's official spokesman said: "The Government, from the Prime Minister down, has worked hard for over four years to support the men and their families and we share their happiness at the court's decision to give a full acquittal to each of the men. "We are now working with the Indian authorities to discuss the next steps. We will continue to offer the men and their families consular assistance for as long as it is needed."



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The ‘Guardian Angel’ Soldiers of Afghanistan

The ‘Guardian Angel’ Soldiers of AfghanistanAs war wages on in Afghanistan, a group of service members called the “guardian angels” watch over any gathering of NATO and Afghan troops.



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North Korea replaces soldiers, South Korea awards medals after defector's border dash

North Korea replaces soldiers, South Korea awards medals after defector's border dashNorth Korea has reportedly replaced guards and fortified a section of its border with South Korea where a North Korean soldier defected last week, while South Korean and U.S. soldiers have been decorated for their role in the defector's rescue.



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U.S. diplomats accuse Tillerson of breaking child soldiers law

U.S. diplomats accuse Tillerson of breaking child soldiers lawBy Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal documents reviewed by Reuters. A confidential State Department “dissent” memo, which Reuters was first to report on, said Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act when he decided in June to exclude Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers.



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Pentagon To Pay For Soldier’s Gender Reassignment Surgery

Pentagon To Pay For Soldier’s Gender Reassignment SurgeryThe Pentagon will pay for an active-duty soldier’s gender confirmation surgery, which took place Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement sent to multiple news outlets.



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Why FBI Is Probing Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Africa

Why FBI Is Probing Attack on U.S. Soldiers in AfricaLawmakers, including John McCain, have criticized the Trump administration for not revealing details about the mission or the killings.



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Trump falsely says Obama did not call families of dead soldiers

Trump falsely says Obama did not call families of dead soldiersIn an attempt to defend his lack of public statements about four soldiers killed in Niger, President Trump falsely claimed that previous presidents did not call the families of dead soldiers — name-checking former President Barack Obama specifically as one of those who did not.



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Niger buries soldiers killed in 'terrorist' attack

Niger buries soldiers killed in 'terrorist' attackNiger on Saturday buried soldiers killed in an ambush this week on the Niger-Mali border, which also claimed the lives of US special forces troops in the country to provide anti-terror support. Nigerien Defence Minister Kalla Moutari, US ambassador Eunice Reddick and other lawmakers watched as the four bodies were taken from the city morgue in Niamey, before being buried in a cemetery. With tears in their eyes, the widows, children and relatives of those killed also took part in the ceremony, during which Nigerien soldiers praised their fallen comrades for their “dynamism” and “bravery” in the fight against “terrorists”.



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Niger buries soldiers killed in 'terrorist' attack

Niger buries soldiers killed in 'terrorist' attackNiger on Saturday buried soldiers killed in an ambush this week on the Niger-Mali border, which also claimed the lives of US special forces troops in the country to provide anti-terror support. Nigerien Defence Minister Kalla Moutari, US ambassador Eunice Reddick and other lawmakers watched as the four bodies were taken from the city morgue in Niamey, before being buried in a cemetery. With tears in their eyes, the widows, children and relatives of those killed also took part in the ceremony, during which Nigerien soldiers praised their fallen comrades for their “dynamism” and “bravery” in the fight against “terrorists”.



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French, Nigerien forces conduct operations after 3 U.S. special forces soldiers killed

French, Nigerien forces conduct operations after 3 U.S. special forces soldiers killedBy Boureima Balima NIAMEY (Reuters) – French and Nigerien troops conducted operations near Niger’s border with Mali on Thursday, the day after an attack that killed three U.S. Army Special Forces members, security sources said. The attack, which also wounded two U.S. soldiers and killed at least one Nigerien soldier, took place during a routine patrol in a part of southwestern Niger where insurgents, including from al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), are active, a U.S. official told Reuters. Nigerien, U.S. and French troops were leading operations in the zone on Thursday, a Niger security source said, without elaborating.



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