Bodies of soldiers shot in Afghanistan repatriated

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Media captionThe bodies of the three servicemen arrived back at RAF Brize Norton

The bodies of two Welsh Guards and a former member of the regiment who were shot dead in Afghanistan have been flown back to the UK.

Craig Roderick and Apete Tuisovurua of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Warrant Officer Perran Thomas of the Royal Corps of Signals were killed as they left a checkpoint on Sunday.

They are suspected to have been shot by an Afghan policeman.

A private ceremony will take place at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

The soldiers were part of a Nato-led force that had been training Afghan counterparts ahead of a handover of security responsibility by 2014.

The shooting happened at a checkpoint in Helmand province where the soldiers were attending a meeting of elders.

Guardsman Roderick, 22, a former pupil of Pencoed Comprehensive School, in Bridgend county, joined the Army in 2009.

His family had said in a tribute that words could not describe "how the loss of our precious Craig has affected us all".

"The vast void left by this tragedy will never be filled," the tribute continued.

"Everyone who knew him will miss his big smile and his sense of humour.

"He was the best son, brother or friend you could have wished for, we were privileged to have known him. He will always be missed and never forgotten."

Guardsman Tuisovurua, 28, who was born in Fiji, was described by the Ministry of Defence as an exemplary member of the Welsh Guards, whom he joined in June 2011.

Image copyright MOD
Image caption [From L]: Guardsman Apete Tuisovurua, Guardsman Craig Roderick and Warrant Officer Perran Thomas were killed as they left a checkpoint

Commanding officer Lt Col Dino Bossi said: "Our feelings now rest with his family whose loss makes ours seem insignificant in comparison.

"We hope that God gives them the strength to endure their grief and the knowledge that Apete died in a just cause doing his duty with pride, honour and skill. We will remember him. Cymru am Byth."

'Greatly missed'

Warrant Officer Thomas, 44, known as "Pez" and based in Cardiff although from Ross on Wye in Herefordshire, was described as fun and full of life by a friend.

Anne Rooke, landlady of The Wye Not Inn, in Symonds Yat, Herefordshire, said: "Pez is going to be greatly missed. He was a fun guy to be with.

"The locals here are absolutely devastated with the loss. He was part of our community."

An Afghan policeman suspected of shooting dead the soldiers was named by an Afghan police commander as Ziarahman.

Ziarahman, 25, who reportedly came from Herat in western Afghanistan, was injured and later detained.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The cortege leaves RAF Brize Norton

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