Sunday Mirror defence correspondent Rupert Hamer was killed yesterday, and photographer Philip Coburn seriously injured, when the vehicle in which they were travelling hit a roadside bomb outside Nawa in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The journalists were at the time embedded with the US Marine Corps.
One American and one Afghan soldier also lost their lives in the blast. Their names have not yet been released.
I may not be a tabloid reader, but I am familiar with some of Hamer’s many dispatches from Afghanistan. Hamer was a first-class reporter who empathised with the soldiers with whom he lived and worked in Afghanistan, yet pulled no punches when it came to criticising shortcomings in military and political planning. He had previously worked in Iraq.
Coburn is an outstanding photojournalist whose future work I look forward to seeing. May he make a full and speedy recovery.
Update (13 January 2010)
The US Marine killed alongside Rupert Hamer has been named as Jacob Meinert, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Contrary to initial reports, no Afghan soldier was killed in the bomb blast.