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WHY I HAD TO RUN ACROSS MINEFIELD TO CATCH BOMBER; Brave Guardsman and pals face Taliban fighters.

Byline: THOMAS MARTIN

TWO Merseyside soldiers captured Taliban insurgents who were caught red-handed laying improvised landmines.

Irish Guardsman Lewis Wilby, who lives in Neston, ran across an unchecked minefield to catch a Taliban insurgent.

And Guardsman Lewis Done, 20, from Liverpool, threw himself at another rebel, wrestling him to the ground.

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.

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

Guardsman Wilby then gave chase to the other insurgent.

He was weighed down by more than 60lbs of kit when he spotted an 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, the MoD said.

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.

Guardsman Wilby said: "These two insurgents had been watched by surveillance laying IEDs, andwewere tasked to detain them - so that's what we did. The adrenaline was pumping aswe chased them to a compound, but it was so satisfyingwhenwe 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 judgement that, by watching carefully the route that the insurgent took, and following it as closely as possible, I would be ok.

"It feels like a massive achievement, because we've caught a bloke who wanted to hurt my comrades. We've had a tough time, but knowing I got a guy who has laid IEDs to try to kill us makes me happy."

Major Mickey Stewart, Company Commander, No 4 Company Irish Guards, said: "The insurgent was completely taken by surprise when Guardsman Wilby and his platoon commander chased him down."

CAPTION(S):

HERO: Irish Guardsman Lewis with his wife Lisa on their wedding day last year AFGHAN HERO: Guardsman Lewis Wilby
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2011
Words:389
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