Subject: UN troops kill suspected militiaman in E.Timor

UN troops kill suspected militiaman in E.Timor

DILI, East Timor, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Australian peacekeepers shot dead a suspected pro-Jakarta militiaman on Saturday less than 200 metres (yards) from the border with Indonesia, a senior U.N. military official said.

The shooting was just south of the town of Balibo, near the site of a militia ambush on Friday in which one Australian soldier was shot in the thigh.

Captain Mick Tate, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in the tiny territory, said two armed men in military fatigues had run towards the border when they were challenged by the Australian troops who then opened fire.

"On being challenged, they dived for cover and took up what appeared to be firing positions," Tate said.

The latest clash came during a hunt by more than 50 U.N. troops, backed by helicopters and armoured vehicles, for those responsible for Friday's ambush. The soldier shot on Friday was reportedly in a stable condition.

Pro-Jakarta militias, who laid waste to East Timor when it voted last year to break from Indonesia, have had occasional clashes with U.N. peacekeepers in the territory. The militia gangs are based in refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor.

Two peacekeepers -- a New Zealander and a Nepali -- have been killed, along with several militia in previous clashes. In September, three foreign UN aid officials were killed by pro-Jakarta gangs.

Australia led a multinational peacekeeping force to East Timor after the 1999 ballot and contributes most of the troops in a transitional U.N. administration in the territory until the move to independence scheduled for late next year.

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