29/06/2004

Captured US soldier executed by Iraqi militants

A US soldier who was being held by militants in Iraq has been executed, Al Jazeera has reported.

Twenty-year-old Keith Maupin, who was married with an infant child, was murdered just hours after Iraq was officially conferred its sovereignty. A terror group calling itself the Persistent Power Against the Enemies of God killed Pfc Maupin and sent taped footage of the execution and a written statement to the Qatar-based news broadcaster.

Al Jazeera broadcast a section of the footage, but not the murder. It said that Pfc Maupin had been shot in the back of the head.

The terror group's statement said that it carried out the murder because the US administration had not changed its policies in Iraq, Al Jazeera reported.

Pfc Maupin, of Batavia, Ohio, was captured on April 9 after the convoy he was travelling in was attacked by militants using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

A second soldier, Sgt Elmer Krause, 40, was also declared missing following the same incident. Both men were categorized as "duty status - whereabouts unknown" by the US Department of Defense.

Pfc Maupin was eventually confirmed captured on April 16, and Sgt Krause's remains were identified on April 23.

Both soldiers were assigned to the Army Reserve’s 724th Transportation Company, from Bartonville, Illinois.

(gmcg)

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