| Hakim Hayat |
A 19-YEAR-OLD army recruit from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) was killed in an accident during a live firing training exercise yesterday morning.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MinDef), the accident occurred at about 8am at the Binturan Live Firing Range in Penanjong Garrison, Tutong.
The recruit, 50922 Rct Mohammad Afiq Fadhli bin Kefle of the 152nd intake, who had just turned 19 on Thursday, was the eldest of four siblings. He joined the RBAF as a recruit in August and was due to complete his 25-week basic military training in January 2015.
Following a post-mortem, Mohammad Afiq Fadhli’s body was taken to his family’s residence in Kampung Perpindahan Lambak Kiri yesterday afternoon for burial rites. He was laid to rest at Kampung Terunjing Baru Muslim Cemetery in the presence of relatives and friends.
The Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) was informed about the death of the army recruit at 9.40am yesterday by Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital in Tutong.
The recruit passed away at 9.20am.
According to the RBPF, initial investigations suggest the mishap occurred when the army recruit was in the midst of cleaning up works in an area at the shooting range.
The recruit died “due to the extreme force of an explosive”, according to the police.
The MinDef and RBAF extended their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the recruit, as well as those affected by the tragedy.
Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih bin Abdullah, the Commander of the RBAF, also expressed his sadness and deepest sympathies.
The MinDef reassured the public that a proper joint investigation would be conducted by the RBPF and RBAF Military Police to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future and that all necessary safety precautions are adhered to during training and operations.
Major Md Kassim Awg Yusof, a spokesperson for the MinDef, reminded the public to be responsible in their use of social media, such as WhatsApp, and not speculate about the incident.
Furthermore, circulating baseless statements from unreliable sources regarding the incident is disrespectful to grieving family members, he said.
Aside from the Commander of the RBAF, other top ranking officials who paid their last respects to Mohammad Afiq Fadhli yesterday included: Brigadier General Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Yussof bin Haji Abdul Rahman, the Commander of the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF) and Acting Deputy Commander of RBAF; Colonel Haji Zainal Ariffin bin Dato Paduka Haji Ahmad, the Joint Force Commander of RBAF; and Colonel Hasmee bin Hj Abd Wahab, the Commandant of the Training Institute (IL) of RBAF.