Seven Royal Marines arrested on suspicion of murder
SEVEN Royal Marines have been arrested on suspicion of murder, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
The Royal Military Police made the arrests following an incident in Afghanistan last year.
The MoD has not yet revealed the names of those arrested – or the units with which they serve.
Two of the three Royal Marines units to be deployed to Afghanistan during 2011 are based in Plymouth.
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The precise circumstances of the alleged murder have not yet been revealed by the MoD.
However, a spokesman confirmed the arrests related to an incident that occurred after "an engagement with an insurgent."
No civilians were involved and an investigation has now been launched by the service justice system, he added.
The MoD spokesman said: "The Royal Military Police have arrested seven Royal Marines on suspicion of murder.
"The arrests relate to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011.
"The incident followed an engagement with an insurgent; there were no civilians involved.
"The investigation will now be taken forward and dealt with by the service justice system.
"These arrests demonstrate the Department and the Armed Forces' determination to ensure UK personnel act in accordance with their rules of engagement and our standards.
"It would be inappropriate to make any further comment while the investigation is under way."
The MoD has confirmed there will also be an internal review into the alleged incident that led to the seven arrests.
3 Commando Brigade was sent to take over operations on the frontline in Afghanistan in April last year.
Among thousands of servicemen and servicewomen to make up the brigade during its six-month tour were Plymouth-based 42 Commando and 30 Commando IX.
A total of 650 Royal Marines from Bickleigh-based 42 Cdo fought in the war-torn country between April and October.
They were joined by hundreds more from Stonehouse's 30 Cdo.
Also part of 3 Cdo Brigade was 45 Commando Royal Marines, based in Arbroath in Scotland.
The 3 Cdo Brigade fighting force also included soldiers from the Royal Citadel's 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery and hundreds of military and civilian medics, largely based at Derriford Hospital.
In total eight Plymouth-based servicemen lost their lives.
The seven British servicemen to have been detained are the first to be arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deployment in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.