Jonathan Mitchell – Two new training centres have opened in Timor-Leste to help locals gain trade skills, as the country remembers a fallen New Zealand soldier.
Private Leonard Manning, 24, was shot by pro-Indonesian militia two decades ago while he was serving with United Nations peacekeeping forces. A memorial service is being held at the New Zealand embassy in Dili today.
Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Dransfield, who was commander at the time, said a trust set up in Private Manning's name has long supported locals with vocational training. He said the new centres have now opened in Lalawa and Belulik Leten.
"They're going to fit-out a building fully with electricity – they're going to do some plumbing work and do some concreting – and fix the roofs," he said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Dransfield said Private Manning was well respected by his comrades.
"He was compassionate about the people of Timor-Leste and particularly had a compassion for the young children who he saw walking each day to school for many many kilometres," he said.
Two other services were held yesterday to remember the dead soldier.