Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 15:07 UK

Gurkha killed returning to base

Colour Sgt Dura
The death came in the first fatal attack on a Warrior vehicle in Afghanistan

A Gurkha sniper died in Afghanistan after the Warrior vehicle he was travelling in hit a roadside bomb as it returned to base, an inquest has heard.

Colour Sgt Krishnabahadur Dura was in a convoy of five Warriors returning from a 48-hour stake-out of Taliban forces.

His vehicle is believed to have drifted to the left of tracks of the preceding one as it crossed an irrigation system, detonating the bomb last November.

Wiltshire Coroner David Ridley recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Colour Sgt Dura, from Canterbury, Kent, was at the rear of the fourth vehicle in the convoy travelling in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

The blast forced upwards the underside of the Warrior, mangled equipment inside and threw its wheels 300m, heard the inquest at Trowbridge Town Hall, Wiltshire.

WO Benjamin Kelly, commanding the vehicle behind, said that in the rear passenger hold of the stricken Warrior he found one soldier "screaming" with injured legs and another - Colour Sgt Dura - quiet and still.

Colour Sgt Dura was formally certified dead en route to Camp Bastion.

L/Bombardier Luke Jackson, driver of the vehicle, told the inquest that it hit the explosive as it crossed an irrigation system.

"As we crossed, the tracks from the vehicles in front weren't visible. That's when we were broached. The Warrior immediately came to a standstill," he said.

Mr Ridley concluded that it was his belief that the vehicle had drifted to the left of the tracks of the vehicle in front and struck the explosive.

Third tour

Colour Sgt Dura, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was a 36-year-old father-of-two from Lamjung District, western Nepal.

He was rated as one of the Army's best snipers and was undertaking his third tour to Afghanistan when he was killed.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Chris Darby, described Colour Sgt Dura as "an exceptional soldier, a gifted leader and consummate professional".

"His knowledge of his trade and of his men was without parallel, and the team he forged based on this knowledge and his own commitment was second to none."

Colour Sgt Dura's snipers were, and continued to be, one of the battalion's "most potent capabilities", he said.

"Their strengths are due almost entirely to his own ability as a soldier, a leader and commander."

Colour Sgt Dura enlisted in the Army in 1992 and served on operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor and twice in Sierra Leone.

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