Subject: LUSA: Peacekeepers, Militias Skirmish Near Border

15 Jun 01 13:30 East Timor: Peacekeepers, Militias Skirmish Near Border

United Nations peacekeepers traded gunfire with presumed militiamen near Batugade in the Maliana border district of East Timor, the territory's UN transition administration (UNTAET) confirmed on Friday.

No casualties resulted from the incident, which occurred shortly after noon local time on Thursday, UNTAET indicated.

Australian peacekeepers were on routine patrol when they came upon a small group of armed men, presumably members of an anti- independence militia. The group did not obey the immediate order to hand over their weapons and began shooting at the UN soldiers, who returned fire. Reinforcements have since been sent to the area to enhance security and pursue the gunmen.

The clash took place two days after 30 former members of anti- independence militias turned themselves in to UN forces in the Maliana district.

JBC -Lusa-

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