Soldiers to be honoured with state funeral today

A state funeral for the eleven soldiers of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) who died in the unfortunate September 2 explosive mishap in Haa will be held in the capital on Saturday.

They were killed during a routine procedure of destroying unserviceable ammunition which exploded at around 10am at Anakha, Haa. Eight were killed on the spot, and three died after reaching the IMTRAT hospital.

Of the deceased, three were from the ammunition depot in Taba, five from demo company in Haa, one from wing 12 in Tencholing, one from the military training centre, Tencholing, and one from Lungtenphu.

The incident that involved 23 soldiers were among the RBA’s bomb disposal squad. Of the 10 soldiers injured, five were evacuated by a helicopter on the afternoon of September 2. One was later referred to Thimphu by ambulance at night from the IMTRAT hospital in Haa. Four admitted at the IMTRAT hospital sustained minor burns while two others have been discharged.

His Majesty the King rushed to the explosion site as soon as the news was heard. The King also went to the IMTRAT hospital and met with the injured soldiers.  His Majesty commanded RBA officials to make proper funeral arrangements and look into the welfare of the bereaved families.

RBA disposes the unserviceable ammunition every year. The RBA has ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.

Soon after his arrival from a five-day visit to India, Lyonchhen accompanied by the ministers of health and foreign affairs along with a few MPs visited the hospitals to inquire about the condition of the wounded soldiers.

Lyonchhen, in an earlier statement, offered his sympathy and prayers for the families of the victims. “I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the tragedy in Haa that cut short the lives of eleven of our young soldiers and injured ten others. Young Bhutanese men in uniform with their entire lives ahead of them, some with wives and children, laid down their lives while in the service of our nation. I join all Bhutanese in offering my heartfelt sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Anakha tragedy. I hope that you can draw some measure of comfort knowing that you are not alone in your grief – that people across our country, and Bhutanese everywhere, pray and mourn with you,” read the statement.

The first session of the second Parliament, which was scheduled for today has been postponed to September 11 as it coincided with the state funeral of the deceased soldiers.

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