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UPDATED: 10:33, November 28, 2006
NZ, Australia troops to withdraw from Tonga
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New Zealand Defense Minister Phil Goff said Tuesday he expects to see Australian and New Zealand troops withdrawn from Tonga this week.

A contingent of 60 New Zealand troops was sent to the country on Nov. 18 to help provide security after rioting devastated the capital, Nuku'alofa.

Goff told News Talk ZB, a local radio, that the situation has now calmed, and the objective of the mission has been achieved.

However he said New Zealand police who were also sent to Tonga, are likely to remain there for a few more weeks.

Goff said they still have some forensic work to do to bring those responsible for the fires, property damage and deaths during the riots, to account.

Riots erupted in Tonga on Nov. 18 when hundreds of pro- democracy rioters destroyed around most of the capital Nuku'alofa's business district. Nearly 30 Chinese-owned stores were set fire or looted by the mobs.

The South Pacific country, halfway between Australia and Tahiti, has a population of about 108,000. Its economy depends on pumpkin and vanilla exports, fishing, foreign aid and remittances from Tongans abroad.

Source: Xinhua

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