terça-feira, 6 de novembro de 2007

Aussie soldier dies in Timor barracks

Tuesday, 6 November, 2007

An investigation has been launched into the death of an Australian soldier in East Timor, who died from a gunshot wound in his barracks.

The circumstances of the soldier's death on Monday in the East Timorese capital Dili remain unclear.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the solder was found on Monday afternoon.

"The soldier has died of a gunshot wound while in a barracks area," he said in a statement.

"The circumstances of the incident are still uncertain and will be formally investigated."

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the loss was a tragedy.

"Any death of an ADF member is a tragic and sad loss for the entire ADF community," he said.

"The soldier's next of kin have been informed and our priority is to ensure the family is receiving the support and care they need."

Defence is considering arrangements for the soldier's repatriation.

Full investigation

Air Chief Marshal Houston said a full investigation into the death would be conducted by staff of the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service.

A formal chief of defence force commission of inquiry will also be conducted.

In December last year the federal government introduced laws creating the commissions of inquiry and making them mandatory for all deaths in service and all suicides by ADF members.

The probe will be presided over by a civilian with judicial experience.

The changes were part of an overhaul into the military justice system and came amid controversy over the findings of a military inquiry into the death of Private Jake Kovco, who was shot in the head with his own gun while in his Baghdad barracks in April last year.

The inquiry found Pte Kovco fatally shot himself in the head while "skylarking" with his gun.

The unnamed soldier is the third Australian serviceman to die on active overseas service in recent weeks.

On October 8, Trooper David Pearce was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, while late last month Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment Sergeant Matthew Locke was shot dead by the Taliban, also in Afghanistan.

The soldier who died in Dili was part of the International Stabilisation Force in East Timor.

There are about 850 ADF deployed in East Timor as part of the ISF, which involves around 20 nations.

They are working with the United Nations to help provide law and order in East Timor, which was wracked by violent riots last year.

Source: AAP

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