A RETIRED Colonel who Lord Saville claimed “had no idea what was actually going on” on Bloody Sunday has been shot dead in Kenya.
Ironically, Colonel Edward Loden - a Major in 1972 - was shot dead in an armed robbery in a country where his superior officer, Brigadier Frank Kitson, first developed his pseudo-gang counter-insurgency technique to put down the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s. He later imported the tactic to Northern Ireland.
Brigadier Kitson commanded the 39th Air Portable Brigade - including 1st Para - on Bloody Sunday.
In his initial record of the operation on Bloody Sunday, Major Loden claimed his men came under fire from the Rossville Flats; that they encountered a nail bomber; and that his men later came under several rounds of fire at the Rossville Street and Pilot’s Row junction.
Lord Saville concluded that Major Loden didn’t know what was happening on Bloody Sunday and that another officer might have reacted more quickly.
He stated: “Major Loden had no idea what was actually going on; he assumed that his soldiers had come under attack from republican paramilitaries and were responding.
“It could be said that another officer in Major Loden’s position might have appreciated earlier that, in view of the amount of Army gunfire, something seemed to be going seriously wrong.”
Lord Saville also concluded that Major Loden didn’t think his men were shooting at innocent civilians but he probably did realise his men’s firing was unjustified.
He stated: “In our view, at the time the casualties were being sustained, Major Loden neither realised nor should have realised that his soldiers were or might be firing at people who were not posing or about to pose a threat of causing death or serious injury.
“However, we consider that at the time when he did tell his soldiers not to fire back unless they had identified positive targets, he probably did realise that the firing that was taking place then was, or might be, unjustified.
“By this stage all the casualties had been sustained and there had been a pause in the firing.”
Colonel Loden is the second Parachute Regiment officer to have been killed in Kenya over past few weeks. Lt Col David Parkinson, who killed by machete-wielding robbers on a nature reserve at the end of August.