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Irish honour for Zim soldier killed in Iraq


Chris Muzvuru
TWO SONS: Chris Muzvuru with Jonny and his mum, Colleen

By Adrian Kwintner
29/04/2004

A BRAVE Zimbabwean soldier who died in Iraq while serving with British troops has been honoured in death in Ireland.

For the first time, we publish Christopher Muzvuru's picture after he was killed by a sniper in Iraq at the height of the war with Saddam Hussein's forces in April last year.

The Irish Guards was given a silver and ivory set of bagpipes in memory of Muzvuru, 20, who was the first black piper in the regiment's 103-year history.

Muzvuru had told an American reporter shortly before he was killed by a sniper he hoped to play the bagpipes before the Queen one day.

Now a special set of bagpipes donated to the Irish Guards in a ceremony at the Red Lion pub, in Shooters Hill, Plumstead, on April 25 will be played by the regiment in front of the Queen when it troops the colour.

Irish Guards' drummer Jonny Stranix, 19, of Shooters Hill, who is now based at Wellington Barracks, befriended "Muz" while they trained in Edinburgh before serving together in Iraq.

The drummer's family regarded the piper, from Gweru, in central Zimbabwe, as a brother and son after he visited their home.

Jonny's sister, Angela Jenkins, 27, who works behind the bar at the Red Lion, says she is "grateful" to punters both at the Red Lion and the Scotsman's Lounge, in Edinburgh, for helping to raise £3,000 for the pipes.

She said: "Chris was special and a very good family friend. We sent him parcels and wrote to him.

"A letter from him arrived the day after he was killed saying, Don't worry, we will back soon. Can you send me some playing cards? He called my mum mum' and she called him son'. I saw him like a brother. Chris was killed at the very same time the Red Lion's landlord, Terry Kibble, said not to forget we were going to have a party for Jonny, Muz and all the lads when they got back."

Muzvuru, who joined the British Army in February 2001, was given a military funeral at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire after his body was flown out from Iraq.

He was denounced as a "traitor" by President Robert Mugabe's regime. And the country's state-controlled media had called for the body of the "mercenary" piper to be buried in Britain.

Muzvuru's body was eventually buried in an unmarked grave in Gweru after weeks of delays in issuing a death certificate.
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