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Journalist Safe From Renewed Timor Unrest

Journalist Safe From Renewed Timor Unrest

DILI: (ABC News/Pacific Media Watch): An Australian journalist has been evacuated from an area on the outskirts of the East Timorese capital Dili, after being caught up in fresh violence.

It is understood shooting broke out this morning between East Timorese troops and a rebel group at Becora, on Dili's outskirts.

David O'Shea, from the SBS program Dateline, was in the area to interview rebel policemen, when shooting started.

At least two East Timorese soldiers were injured, and Australian officials say there may have been deaths.

The Australian Embassy in Dili sent an armoured vehicle to the area to evacuate O'Shea this afternoon.

He says he is now safe and uninjured.

It is understood troops had gone to the area to control a small band of ex-military police who had deserted their posts earlier this month.

Mass riots two weeks ago in the capital left five people dead and buildings torched.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says Australia is ready to help if the East Timorese Government or the United Nations requests assistance.

"We've pre-positioned some military assets in northern Australia, including naval vessels, aircraft and even some troops to enable a rapid response to assist with evacuation or some other form of assistance if it's required," he said.

+++niuswire

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