Africa

Briton Stephen Allan killed by Sudan landmine blast

Stephen Allan
Image caption Stephen Allan had been involved in clearing mines for four years

A British man has died after a landmine exploded in South Sudan.

Stephen Allan was clearing mines near the town of Kapoeta on Friday when he was critically injured in the explosion.

The 52-year-old from Portsmouth died several hours later, his employers, the Mines Advisory Group, said.

The Foreign Office confirmed that a British national had been killed in South Sudan and said it was offering consular assistance.

No-one else was injured in the explosion.

'Shocked and saddened'

The technical field manager, known as Darby, was formerly a diver for the Royal Navy and had been involved in mine clearance for the humanitarian organisation for four years.

Most recently he had been leading teams of trained Sudanese mine clearance workers in removing landmines threatening communities in and around Kapoeta.

Mines Advisory Group's chief executive Lou McGrath paid tribute to Mr Allan's sacrifice and his lifesaving humanitarian work.

"Darby's death has left all of us shocked and saddened.

"The sacrifice that Darby made to help desperately vulnerable communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon and then Sudan should not be underestimated.

"He was away from his family for long periods, often working in very challenging conditions, but he was always dedicated to the humanitarian impact that his work had.

Image caption A huge minefield was laid around the town of Kapoeta

"There is no doubt that over the last four years Darby's work with MAG has saved countless people's lives, and for that we will never forget him."

Andy Gleeson, who worked with Mr Allan in Lebanon, said: "Darby was a great team member with a dry humour, and a dependable, affable technician who managed several clearance teams with skill and determination."

A UN-led investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death was under way, the advisory group said.

Kapoeta - about 160 miles (260km) east of the capital Juba - is in southern Sudan's Eastern Equatoria, which borders Uganda and Kenya in the south, and Ethiopia in the east.

During fighting there, a huge barrier minefield was laid all around Kapoeta, according to the Mines Advisory Board.

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