Sunday, 10 January 2010

British journalist killed in Afghanistan

BBC News has reported that the defence correspondent  for the Sunday Mirror newspaper Rupert Hamer (pictured) has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Hamer, 39, was one of two Mirror journalists embedded with the US Marine Corps when their vehicle hit an improvised bomb near Nawa, in Helmand.
The father-of-three's colleague, photographer Philip Coburn, 43, is in a serious but stable condition.
A US Marine and an Afghan soldier were also killed in the blast on Saturday. Four US Marines were seriously injured.
Statement from Sunday Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce that two Sunday Mirror journalists were involved in an incident in Afghanistan on Saturday morning.
“The paper’s defence correspondent Rupert Hamer, 39, was killed. Photographer Phil Coburn, 43, was seriously injured.
“The incident occurred while the pair were on patrol with US Marine Corps north west of NAWA.
“The vehicle they were travelling was hit by an IED.They had flown to the region on New Year’s Eve and were embedded with the American military. The trip was to have lasted for a month.Rupert was married to Helen with three children aged 6, 5 and 19 months.
“He had been a Sunday Mirror journalist for 12 years and had regularly reported from Afghanistan and Iraq during the ongoing conflict.
“Phil, 43, has been with the paper for eight years and worked with Rupert in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He is a highly respected photo journalist who has produced brilliant work for the paper from all over the world including Rwanda and Hurricane Katrina.
“Everyone at the Sunday Mirror and Mirror Group sends their deepest sympathies to Rupert’s wife, his father Nick and family. And we wish Phil a speedy recovery and send our warmest wishes to his family.”
Statement from Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver: “Rupert believed that the only place to report a war was from the front line, and as our defence correspondent he wanted to be embedded with the US marines at the start of their vital surge into Southern Afghanistan.
“He left on New Year’s Eve with photographer Phil Coburn, determined to be there from the start.He was a seasoned, highly-regarded and brave journalist who had reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan on many occasions.
“It was his fifth trip to Afghanistan, and he had forged friendships with a number of the soldiers serving out there.
“One of his last acts was to organise a special Christmas newspaper produced solely for the troops packed with messages from loved ones which was flown out by the RAF three weeks ago.
“He was a fine, fearless, and skilled writer who joined the paper 12 years ago.
“Affectionately known as Corporal Hamer in the office, he was a gregarious figure ,a wonderful friend who was hugely popular with his colleagues.
“Above all he was devoted to his wife Helen and their three young children.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Helen, his father Nick, who he was so close to, and the children he was so proud of.”
“Phil is a veteran of conflicts in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan who has been with the Sunday Mirror for eight years.
“He is a consummate all round journalist and brilliant photographer whose pictures grace any newspaper.
“He and Rupert made a dedicated team, working together around the world, sacrificing personal comfort countless times to record the reality of wars.
“We wish Phil a speedy recovery and send our warmest wishes to his partner and family.”

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