Invaders? opt for stealth

By PETER CATON

FEW Murwillumbah residents knew they had been invaded yesterday as the Australian Army moved silently into the town's outskirts.

Anyone expecting to see a swarm of soldiers in army greens and a convoy of elite military vehichles making their way through Murwillumbah was sadly disappointed.

Army officers confirmed earlier this week that some 300 battleready troops would be involved in war games, including firing of blank ammunition, at the town showground and racecourse.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Scott Goddard told the Daily News that the showgrounds and the racecourse provided ideal locations for this exercise.

However, the army avoided both locations yesterday, choosing to conduct their activities in a more secret spot.

The war between an "enemy" and soldiers of the 6th RAR instead got off to a quiet start at a council quarry outside the town.

A Tweed Shire Council spokesman confirmed the army had been given approval to use the quarry for the war games.

However, council was unable to provide more details.

An army spokesman, Major Ian Dunn, said troops had been "moving forward" throughout the day and the quarry was a "concentration area".

The build up of troops was to continue through last night with major activities today.

One of the main objectives for the soldiers from the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion is to familiarise themselves with a dozen fiercelooking Bushmaster troop carriers identical to those currently in service overseas.

The Bushmasters replaced the old Vietnam-era armoured personnel carriers and are now in service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aside from using the Bushmasters, the soldiers will also be forced to search out enemy troops who arrived earlier in the week, dressed as civilians.

The army expects to have its activities finished tomorrow.



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