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Central Region News

May 26, 2006 19:58 PM

Malaysia Sends 209 Soldiers To Help Quell Unrest In Timor Leste

SUBANG, May 26 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is sending 209 soldiers to Dili to help quell escalating violence between rival factions in Timor Leste, the world's youngest nation, following a request from that government.

The soldiers are drawn from the 10th Brigade Paratroopers based in Terendak Camp, Melaka, and a unit of the army special force from Mersing Camp, Johor, and will be headed by Col Ismeth Nayan Ismail, a spokesman of the Defence Ministry who did not want to be named told Bernama here.

He said they would depart in Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) transport aircraft from the RMAF base here at midnight.

The team is expected to join the advance party of 25 Malaysian military officers who left for Dili earlier, and would remain in that country for two weeks, he said.

Nine people were killed and 27 wounded Thursday in clashes between rival factions in Timor Leste that resulted from a government's decision to sack almost half of the country's military after they protested against poor conditions.

Two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) vessels, KD Merong Mahawangsa and KD Inderasakti, are ferrying the equipment of the Malaysian troops, including armoured carriers.

They left the Lumut naval base at noon Friday, the spokesman said.

Six Malaysian journalists, photographers and cameramen, from the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and TV3, are joining the troops on their mission.

Australia, which led a United Nations military force in Timor Leste after Dili's bloody break for independence from Indonesia, has offered to send up to 1,300 forces, ships, helicopters and armoured personnel carriers.

The first 100 Australian soldiers from an elite commando unit arrived in Dili Thursday. New Zealand is sending 60 policemen and soldiers while Portugal has agreed to send 40 military personnel.



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