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No family split over soldier and 'shield'

TWO members of an Accrington family will be putting their lives on the line if war breaks out in Iraq.

SOLDIER Steven Dixon ... preparing to fight Saddam
SOLDIER Steven Dixon ... preparing to fight Saddam

TWO members of an Accrington family will be putting their lives on the line if war breaks out in Iraq.

Dieter Seager, 28, has flown out to Amman in Jordan to act as a human shield, protecting innocent civilians in the event of a war.

And now it has been revealed that his nephew, Steven Dixon, 22, is also in the Middle East - preparing to fight Saddam Hussein as a lance bombardier with the Royal Artillery.

Dieter, of Washington Street, sold all his possessions to fund his trip and said he had no plans to come home - despite pleas from Hyndburn MP Greg Pope and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Several protesters have already left amid reports that they were being asked to defend potential bombing targets such as power stations rather than schools or hospitals.

But Dieter said he still planned to travel into Iraq to deliver supplies. He is currently in Amman, where he is helping to set up Internet connections for the Iraqi and Jordanian peace corps.

Dieter, a former care worker with the National Autistic Society, also dismissed reports that other "human shields'' had come home after discovering their trips were being sponsored by the Iraqi government.

Steven, a former pupil at Accrington Moorhead High School, lived with Dieter's mother, Jean, before joining the Army at 16. He was stationed in Germany, where he met his fiancée, Stephanie, but is now based in Kuwait.

His father, Richard, 39, lives in Bold Street, Accrington, with his third wife Katherine, a beauty consultant.

Katherine said: "Richard is very proud of his son and always has been - and he is proud of Dieter for expressing his beliefs. Obviously he is worried but Steven is just following orders. He has worked so hard to get where he is."

Jean, of Clarence Road, Accrington, denied there was any split in the family.

  • For more on this story, see this week's Observer


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
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