UNTAET Daily Briefing 03 Aug 2000

Dili, 3 August 2000

An engineer-soldier from the Bangladeshi Battalion of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces died this morning, 3 August, as a result of an explosion of an unexploded device at a beach near Dili.

Two soldiers were injured by the explosion. One was lightly injured on the hand and was treated at the beach. The other was seriously injured and was declared dead upon arrival at the Military Hospital.

The beach has been sealed off to the public since an explosion on 1 July when an unexploded ordnance injured three Portuguese Peacekeeping soldiers. After a search of the area, three more grenades were found.

Today's explosion occurred while 15 Bangladeshi engineer-soldiers were conducting a cleaning operation to ensure that the beach area was free of unexploded ordnance.

Today there was a small private service for the Bangladeshi Battalion in honor of the soldier. Tomorrow, there will be a public ceremony at Comoro Airport, Dili, before the body is transported to Australia on its way back to Bangladesh.

The UN Peacekeeping Forces used the beach - known as Cristo Rei Beach - only for small arms firing. The device, still unknown, was placed before Peacekeeping deployment.

There are 545 Bangladeshi soldiers in the Peacekeeping Forces, most of them engineers.

A board of inquiry will be established to investigate the incident.