World

2 Canadian soldiers killed in blast

Two Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion on Saturday in southern Afghanistan's Zhari district, the military said Sunday.

Two Canadian soldiers were  killed in a roadside bomb explosion on Saturday  in southern Afghanistan's Zhari district, the military said Sunday.

Cpl. Christian Bobbitt, 23, and another unidentified soldier, both based in Valcartier, Que., were killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city. ((DND))

Cpl. Christian Bobbitt, 23, and another unnamed soldier, both based in Valcartier, Que., were killed Saturday in the blast, which occurred around 3:20 p.m. local time Saturday, 15 kilometres west of Kandahar city.

The family of the second soldier has requested time to notify other family members before his name is made public.

They had dismounted from their vehicle to secure an area west of Kandahar after an earlier blast when another improvised explosive device detonated, Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance said.

Another soldier was seriously injured and is in stable condition in hospital, Vance said.

Canadian troops said farewell to the two soldiers in a ramp ceremony at the NATO base in Kandahar on Sunday.

Fallen soldiers 'saved dozens of innocent people'

The two soldiers were friends and part of a group of engineers who clear roads of IEDs.

Vance said they were probably involved in defusing half of the roadside bombs found in Kandahar in July.

"I can say with confidence that these two brave engineers saved the lives of dozens of innocent people last month alone," he said.

Vance said Bobbitt, or "Bob" to his friends, was a well-liked soldier with a well-known technical expertise who was always there to help his comrades and had just been promoted to corporal.

"He was a hard worker, and a great competitor," Vance said. "He excelled in all that he did, whether it was at Guitar Heroes, or on a rink."

He is survived by his spouse Felicia, his brother Jonathan and his parents, Liane and Yvan.

The other soldier was not named, as military officials had not yet contacted one of his family members.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences to the families and friends of the two slain soldiers.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of these soldiers during this difficult period," he said in a statement Sunday.

"The men and women of our Canadian Forces tirelessly strive to make a positive difference in this world. Their selfless actions protect Canadians, our interests and our values."

Since 2002, 127 Canadian soldiers have been killed serving in the Afghanistan mission. One diplomat and two aid workers have also been killed.

With files from The Canadian Press