Subject: Timor militia member killed in clash with NZ troops

Timor militia member killed in clash with NZ troops

WELLINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - New Zealand soldiers clashed with militia members in East Timor on Tuesday, with one militia member shot dead in the exchange, the New Zealand Army said.

The New Zealand Battalion soldiers clashed with the militia members around 0300 GMT southwest of Kulit, eight km (five miles) from the West Timorese border, the army said in a statement issued in Wellington.

"A number of shots were fired in the contact, killing one member of the militia group," the army said.

"The remainder of the militia group has withdrawn into the surrounding bush. None of the New Zealand soldiers have been injured in the exchange."

The army said the militia initiated the contact, approaching the soldiers.

The New Zealanders have been aware of militia moving within their area of operations for the past week and earlier in the day a group of 15 armed militia were observed, the army said.

A New Zealand soldier was killed in East Timor in July. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is due to visit the New Zealand peacekeeping force, stationed in Suai, later this week.

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