Subject: AFP: Wounded Australian soldiers recovering in E. Timor hospital

Wounded Australian soldiers recovering in East Timor hospital

SYDNEY, Aug 13 (AFP) - Four Australian peacekeepers injured by a mystery explosion near the West Timor border were recovering Sunday and were expected to spend up to three weeks in a UN military hospital, officials said.

The soldiers were wounded when an unidentified device went off on Friday at a garbage dump near Memo, East Timor -- a border checkpoint near the pro-Jakarta militia trouble spot of Maliana.

A spokesman for the Australian contingent in East Timor, Lieutenant Pat Green, said one man suffered burns, another had a penetrating stomach wound and the third a chest wound. No details were given on the fourth man.

"All four of them are well, continue to be stable, and the hospital staff tell me they were hoping to have them back on duty within two or three weeks," he said.

"I would suggest that it wouldn't be necessary to send them back to Australia."

Green would not speculate on the possibility that the men had been injured by a carelessly disposed of Australian explosive weapon.

"We're not ruling out anything; even a car battery can sometimes go up in a real big bang," he said.

Australian peacekeeper Corporal Stuart Jones was killed in the same region last week when a rifle accidentally discharged.

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