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First Shot Fired in Timor-Leste

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Defence

27 June 2006

First Shot Fired in Timor-Leste

A New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) soldier fired a warning shot in Timor-Leste during a patrol near Becora last week.

"The warning shot was fired to disperse a crowd of approximately 30 civilians armed with machetes who had gathered and were harassing other locals. After repeated efforts by New Zealand soldiers to disarm and disperse the crowd were unsuccessful the warning shot was fired," said Defence Minister Phil Goff.

"At the time of the incident it was determined by the soldiers that their Timorese interpreter was under threat of death or serious injury".

“The New Zealand soldiers are well trained and handled the situation in a competent and professional manner. As a result of their actions the crowd dispersed and the situation was quickly brought under control," Mr Goff said.

The firing of a warning shot is part of NZDF operational procedures in relation to the graduated application of force and falls under current Rules of Engagement (ROE) for deployed forces in Timor.

The firing of warning shots has occurred on previous NZDF operations in
Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.

ENDS

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