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Armed Militiaman Captured By Australian Troops

Armed Militiaman Captured By Australian Troops In East Timor Contact

An armed East Timorese militiaman was wounded and captured in a clash with an Australian patrol in East Timor last night (local time).

A Defence Force spokesman said there were no Australian casualties in the incident which occurred about 10 km south of Batugade and one kilometre from the East Timor border about 5pm local time.

The clash involved a patrol of 15 soldiers from the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment which contacted a group of two or three militiamen armed with automatic weapons. The Australian patrol ordered the militiamen to surrender their weapons but the group fired on the patrol.

The patrol returned fire, wounding and capturing one militiaman. The remaining members of the group escaped towards the border with West Timor. The wounded man was treated and evacuated to Dili for questioning.

The spokesman said that in a separate incident shortly after the first contact, another Australian patrol contacted a group of six or seven armed militia about 6km north-east of Maliana. There were no Australian casualties and there were signs that one of the militiamen was wounded. Follow-up operations are continuing in the area this morning.

Australian patrols are continuing to be assisted by the local population and this was leading to more interceptions, the spokesman said.

ends

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