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Subject: smh: troop pullout,alleged reduction
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 15:30:15 +0930
From: Rob Wesley-Smith <rwesley@ozemail.com.au> Organization: affet/troppo rural consulting

http://www.smh.com.au Tues 28/7/98

First Indonesian troops leave East Timor (3pm)

Dili, East Timor: The first contingent of Indonesian troops to be pulled out of the troubled territory of East Timor, boarded a small navy ship here for home early today, witnesses said.

To the sound of a drum band, and under the gaze of a small crowd of East Timorese gathered behind a fence, 398 special forces and infantry troops laden down with rifles and kit-bags boarded the landing ship Teluk Saleh.

"Their tour of duty is over, there will be no replacements," according to an army spokesman.

The spokesman said another 600 troops due to be withdrawn would follow "in a few days".

As the band played, military officials lined the dock to shake hands with the departing troops, who crowded on deck under a drab canvas.

Some were destined for Java, and others to the island of Kalimantan.

"The 1,000 that are leaving are the combat troops, they are the ones to be pulled out," the spokesman said.

The President, Mr BJ Habibie, pledged the withdrawal of combat troops from the former Portuguese territory in a meeting with East Timorese Bishop Carlos Belo last month.

Mr Habibie has also pledged autonomy for the troubled territory, which was invaded by Indonesian troops in 1975 and annexed a year later in a move never recognised by the United Nations. - Agence France-Presse

NB don't allow anyone to believe it without international verification which can only come from UN Peacekeepers on the ground permanently RW-S

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