Five UN peacekeepers in Timor-Leste die in drowning accident

6 March 2003

A drowning accident today claimed the lives of five United Nations peacekeepers from the Republic of Korea serving in Timor-Leste.

The UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) reported that the accident occurred when a vehicle with two Korean peacekeepers on board got stuck crossing a swift-moving river.

When three other Korean soldiers from another vehicle tried to help them, all five were swept away by the strong current. Four bodies have been recovered so far, the Mission said.

In other news, Timor-Leste's first international conference on Petroleum and Mining is underway in the capital, Dili. The three-day meeting, which opened yesterday, brings together international experts in oil, gas and mining with potential investors and representatives from donor countries to discuss partnership strategies that could shore up and increase the potential of the country's petroleum industry.

Hailing the conference as a "milestone," Kamalesh Sharma, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Timor-Leste, noted that much of the country's national wealth depends on developing the oil and gas sectors, and that the "economic potential of these resources is largely dependent on how well they can be exploited and managed."

 

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