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Kiwi Soldiers In East Timor Border Incident

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

2 January 2000

At approximately 5 PM, East Timor time, on January 1, 2000, a reconnaissance patrol from 1 RNZIR Battalion Group operating in the Kova Lima district of East Timor came into contact with an unidentified group near the border with West Timor and shots were exchanged.

The NZ patrol observed a group of four individuals, one of whom was carrying what was believed to be an AKM assault rifle, attempting to cross from West Timor to East Timor. One of the members of the NZ patrol challenged the armed individual and ordered that person to surrender the weapon. The armed person then swung his weapon towards the NZ soldier who responded by firing three shots.

The unidentified group then scattered towards the West Timor border.

30 minutes later, a member of this unidentified group fired six shots in the vicinity of the original incident.

No New Zealanders were injured in this incident.

It can't be confirmed whether any individuals from the unidentified group were hurt in this exchange.

Armed militia activity continues in West Timor and progress in containing that has been slow. While there has been some disarming an it appears Indonesian backing for militia activity has been withdrawn, incidents such as this confirm the threat posed by militia groups intent on maintaining their influence in East Timor.

ENDS

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