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British soldier arrested in connection with fatal hit-and-run on Bases

A British soldier has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run incident on Dhekelia military base in Cyprus that killed 32-year-old Corporal John Fernandez, officials said Tuesday.

“British Forces Cyprus can confirm that a member of the British military has been arrested in connection to the road traffic incident on July 29 which resulted in the death of Corporal John Fernandez,” said a British military statement on Tuesday.

“A thorough investigation is now underway and it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time,” it added.

A British Forces official said that the British soldier was arrested on Monday but give no further details to his identity or whether he would appear in court.

Fernandez, serving on Cyprus, was run down on July 29 while walking within the British military base of Dhekelia near the southern coastal town of Larnaca.

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His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel James Skelton said: “Cpl Fernandez was the finest of men and a true Tiger. He stood out from his peers as an exemplary Infantry soldier, a leader and a servant to his soldiers.”

He said Fernandez was nominated for a British Forces Commendation for his response to a grenade attack on Dhekelia base police station on June 13.

“His example of fitness, courage and personal discipline stand as a marker as to what we, as Infantrymen can all aspire to be.”

According to officials, the off-duty soldier was hit by a passing car within Dhekelia garrison at around 8.40pm last Saturday. The victim and a second soldier had been walking on the side of the road when the car struck and left the scene.

Britain retains sovereignty over some 99 square kilometres of territory on Cyprus, which was ruled by the British until 1960.

There are over 7,000 military personnel and dependents stationed on Cyprus while 1,300 locals are employed by the UK Bases.

Thousands of Cypriots also live inside territory controlled by the bases administration.

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