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AUS: Operations Stabilise - Daily Briefing 22/9/99

Update Monday 22nd September, 1999


DAILY MEDIA BRIEFING

By Defence Spokesperson, Colonel Duncan Lewis 22 September 1999

 

COALITION

•The logistic support and multinational forces continue to build up in Darwin before deploying to East Timor. The coalition remains at 12 confirmed members with a number of other countries still to confirm their involvement. •We are anticipating- that the Philippine and French medical contingents will
deploy to East Timor tomorrow. •A New Zealand mechanised infantry company group currently in Darwin is expected to deploy to East Timor early next week. •There are now 840 personnel from our coalition partners in Darwin. The coalition members that have personnel in Australia and East Timor now are:
•Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, France, and Italy.
•Further personnel from Canada (infantry, company) and Brazil (military police company) have also arrived in Australia in the last 24 hours, and are being processed through Townsville before deploying to East Timor.

 

OPERATIONS UPDATE

•Cooperation with TNI continues to be good, and the planned withdrawal of
TNI forces continues. •Patrolling by INTERFET continues in and around Dili. We are establishing, a
controlling presence throughout the capital. •The first INTERFET forces were deployed by Black-hawk helicopters to Bacau this morning, and an INTERFET presence is now established there. •Single shots and one automatic weapon were heard in and around Dili last night, but no INTERFET forces were involved in any exchange of fire. •As at this morning INTERFFT forces had detained and disarmed 12 militia
in Dili and they are being held at the airport. •Yesterday evening (6.35pm) two journalists, one from the UK and one from the US, their driver and an interpreter were halted by militia south of Dili.
INTERFET troops responded to their distress call and secured their safety.
Although shaken, the four did not sustain any injuries and spent the rest of the night at the Headquarters of the 3rd Brigade at Dili Airport. •A Dutch journalist an a motor bike was involved in a traffic accident and has not been seen since. INTERFET is investigating. •The body of a male Caucasian has been found on the outskirts of Dili. His identity has not been confirmed yet and investigations are underway. The body, which was reportedly found to the east of Dili has been recovered by INTERFET personnel. •As we said yesterday, this is a risky and dangerous situation in East Timor. •The Government has warned that despite the deployment of forces, East Timor remains extremely dangerous and individuals should not venture outside areas directly controlled by INTERFET. •As you probably saw last night, INTEPFET escorted UNAMET and humanitarian assistance staff into the town of Dare, 20 minutes south of Dili.
The East Timorese now living in the town greeted the troops and the UNAMET staff with jubilation.

 

FUTURE OPERATIONS

•INTERFET will continue to patrol in and around Dili to establish peace and security in the town. •Build-up of troops, stores and equipment continue today through both the port and Dili airport. •About 25 aircraft loads of personnel and supplies are planned for delivery today.

 

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

•Four aircraft from Australia, the Philippines, USA and the World Food Program are planned to make humanitarian food drops today. •US Undersecretary for Humanitarian Aid, Julia Taft, and equivalent representatives from the UK, Sweden, Thailand, Japan and Korea, together with the AusAID representative from Jakarta, are visiting East and West Timor today. •The purpose of the visit is to work with senior Indonesian aid authorities in Timor to resolve the humanitarian problems which are evolving. The team intends to travel to Dili by chartered aircraft and will spend up to four hours on the ground. •We are looking at the availability of transport to act aid workers into East Timor, however that will depend on the security situation on the ground. •A total of 18 NGOs were allocated seats on C130s to move from Darwin to Dili in the morning and return in the afternoon. •Back here in Australia, the movement of people evacuated from East Timor into safe havens is expected to be completed today.


ENDS

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