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DATE=10/7/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=TIMOR / SOLDIERS / L-O NUMBER=2-254747 BYLINE=NINO TESORIERO DATELINE=SYDNEY CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Two Australian soldiers shot during an ambush by militia gunmen in East Timor have been flown back to Australia to recover. Nino Tesoriero reports, the soldiers escaped death in the shoot-out with anti-independence fighters who were armed with military style automatic weapons. TEXT: Spokesmen for the multinational peacekeeping force say both men are in satisfactory condition. Australia's Prime minister, John Howard says Wednesday's exchange of fire is a reminder the peacekeeping mission is a dangerous operation. Mr. Howard has expressed relief the soldiers from INTERFET -- the international peacekeeping force in East Timor, were not severely wounded. Mr. Howard also says he regrets the deaths of the two militia members. /// ACT HOWARD /// The loss of life of anybody in this situation is regrettable and we hope that the militia will cooperate with the Interfet forces who have a clear and unambiguous United Nations mandate. /// END ACT /// INTERFET says the troops were forced to return fire Wednesday following an ambush by militiamen near the border with West Timor. The two soldiers who were injured in the gun battle have been flown back to Australia. Meanwhile, nearly 250 East Timorese refugees have arrived in Sydney where they will be temporarily accommodated in army barracks. The group of mainly women and children were flown in from Darwin Wednesday night. (signed) NEB/NT/FC 07-Oct-1999 05:42 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 0942 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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