Sunday 18 February 2018

US army 'kill-team' probed on war crimes

Alex Spillius in Washington

A US soldier facing murder charges for allegedly killing Afghan civilians for sport has been linked to the deaths of several unarmed Iraqis back in 2004, it has emerged.

Sergeant Calvin Gibbs is accused, along with four other soldiers, of opening fire on Afghan civilians in unprovoked assaults between January and May in Kandahar province. Seven others are accused of dismembering bodies and removing bones.

The career of the alleged ringleader of a self-described "kill-team" is now being scrutinised after he boasted to fellow soldiers of his exploits in Iraq, where he served two terms.

During interrogation, Seargent Gibbs revealed a tattoo on his left calf of a crossed pair of pistols framed by six skulls, which he told investigators was his way of keeping count of his victims, according to a report in the 'Washington Post', which cited army documents seen by the newspaper.

Sgt Gibbs told investigators that three of the skulls, coloured red, represented kills in Iraq, while the other three in blue were from Afghanistan.

Special agents from the US army's criminal investigations command are now re-examining an incident in 2004, when Sgt Gibbs and other soldiers allegedly fired on an Iraqi family in a car, killing two adults and a child.

The war crimes investigation is the most serious the US army has faced in Afghanistan during its nine-year presence in the country. (©The Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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