January 2, 2009 / 5:40 PM / in 9 years

Canadian soldier faces murder charge in Afghan death

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian military police have charged an officer with second-degree murder in the death of an unarmed man in the southern Afghan province of Helmand last October.

Captain Robert Semrau is accused of shooting and killing the man -- described by the military police on Friday as a “presumed insurgent” -- on or about October 19, 2008.

Semrau is a member of a team of Canadian Forces mentors, which trains soldiers in the Afghan army. He is now in custody and will be sent back to Canada to face a military judge.

Canada has around 2,500 troops based in the southern city of Kandahar, just east of Helmand province.

Semrau and the Canadian mentor team were in Helmand province providing guidance to Afghan soldiers last October, when the Taliban launched a major offensive against NATO-led troops and the Afghan army.

Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson

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