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Canada reports three soldier suicides

The Canadian military said three, and possibly four, soldiers who served in Afghanistan killed themselves in one week.

Last updated: 04 Dec 2013 21:06
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Canada's military ended combat operations in Afghanistan in July 2011 [AP]

At least three of four Canadian soldiers who died this week committed suicide, the country's military has said.

Master Corporal Sylvain Lelievre, the fourth soldier, was found dead in his home in Chandler, Quebec on Monday. He was 46.

I want to remind those who may be going through difficult times that you are not alone and there is support available to get you through this.

Defence minister Rob Nicholson

His death comes after three others across Canada were determined to be the result of suicide, and possibly linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. All four soldiers had served tours in Afghanistan.

Officials would not comment specifically on the recent spate of suicides.

But Rob Nicholson, the defence minister, urged all struggling soldiers to seek help.

"I want to remind those who may be going through difficult times that you are not alone and there is support available to get you through this," Nicholson said.

"We all have a role to play in reaching out to those who are hurting and encourage them to get help."

Last Wednesday, the body of Warrant Officer Michael McNeil was found at a military base in Petawawa, north of the capital city of Ottawa.

A day earlier, Master Corporal William Elliott died in his home near Canadian Forces Base Shilo in southwestern Manitoba.

And Master Bombardier Travis Halmrast died in a Lethbridge, Alberta hospital after a suicide attempt.

Canada's longest-running combat mission officially ended in July 2011 when the country handed security duties in Kandahar province to US and Afghan troops.

Canadian forces have since been training Afghan army and police in and near Kabul. The last military trainers are scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan in March 2014.

Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC, cited government figures that show 22 Canadian soldiers committed suicide in 2011 and 13 others took their lives in 2012.

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Source:
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