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Five Royal Marines charged with murder
9:30am Sunday 14th October 2012 in Devon
FIVE Royal Marines have been charged with murder in relation to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
Seven marines were arrested on Thursday, and the MoD said Royal Military Police (RMP) had arrested two more marines on suspicion of murder, taking the total number of arrests to nine.
Four have since been released without charge, pending further inquiries.
A statement from the MoD said: "The RMP has referred the cases of the remaining five Royal Marines to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA).
"Following direction from the SPA these marines have now been charged with murder and they remain in custody pending court proceedings."
The soldiers, believed to be members of 3 Commando Brigade, were arrested in connection with an incident which occurred while they were based in Helmand last year.
The incident has been described as "an engagement with an insurgent", with no civilians involved.
During a six-month tour of duty, which lasted from April to October last year, seven servicemen from 3 Commando Brigade were killed in action, all from Devon-based 42 Commando.
The tour, Operation Herrick 14, was the unit's fourth and saw the force score notable successes in capturing explosives from the Taliban.
The rules of engagement, largely derived from the Geneva Convention, dictate under what circumstances British troops are allowed to open fire, whether that is to prevent an attack by the enemy or in direct contact.
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