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Private Leonard Manning

All New Zealanders will feel for the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Private Leonard Manning who was killed in combat yesterday in East Timor, Opposition leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"I want to offer my deepest sympathy to his family.

"Private Manning is the first New Zealand service-person to be killed in combat since 1971 in Vietnam. He is also the first person to die in combat since the UN-backed troops were sent to East Timor last September.

"New Zealanders went to East Timor with the difficult and dangerous mission of enforcing a hard peace. His death is a reminder of the enormity of that task.

"When I made the decision to send New Zealanders to East Timor, I knew New Zealand had to do its bit to uphold the freedom of the people of East Timor.

"But I also knew we were sending New Zealanders into real danger.

"Private Manning's bravery and dedication is something that his family and fellow soldiers can hold on to now. I know all New Zealanders are united in offering them our thoughts and prayers," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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