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Heroic soldier sprinted after enemy across live minefield.

Byline: Jade Wright

A WIRRAL soldier ran across an unchecked minefield to catch a Taliban insurgent who was caught red-handed laying improvised explosive devices, the Ministry of Defence said.

Irish Guardsman Lewis Wilby, from Neston, was weighed down by more than 60lbs of kit when he spotted the insurgent laying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the village of Rahim Kalay, in the Upper Gereshk Valley, Afghanistan.

The bomber immediately fled and 26-year-old Guardsman Wilby sprinted after him across uncleared ground where IEDs were known to have been laid.

He found him hiding in a village compound nearby.

Insurgents had been under surveillance for 48 hours, and were watched overnight as they laid IEDs in one of the most northerly and isolated places in the British area of operations, in Helmand.

The Taliban sympathiser, who could have caused the deaths of many soldiers or Afghan civilians, is now facing life in prison following the incident last month.

During the operation, one of the insurgents was detained immediately when Guardsman Joshua Gibbins, 20, from Northwich, and Guardsman Lewis Done, 20, from Liverpool, threw themselves at him, wrestling him to the ground.

Guardsman Wilby gave chase to the other. He said: "These two insurgents had been watched by surveillance laying IEDs, and we were tasked to detain them - so that's what we did. The adrenaline was pumping as we chased them to a compound, but it was so satisfying when we detained the insurgent and took him to be arrested. "I had to run through an IED belt which is not something I want to try again - but I made the judgment that, by watching carefully the route that the insurgent took, and following it as closely as possible, I would be OK."

Major Mickey Stewart, Company Commander, said: "The insurgent was taken by surprise when Guardsman Wilby and his platoon commander chased him down."

CAPTION(S):

Irish Guardsman Lewis Wilby, 26; and, left, with wife Lisa, at their wedding in April last year
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2011
Words:331
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