UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: April 29th, 301 AP.

Replacement Utanian peacekeepers already near Dignania

President Okarvits was forced today to admit that another five thousand Utanian troops were en route to Dignania to replace at least three thousand who had served more than eight months there.

President Okarvits made the admission on Sunday morning's Business Weekly, a Luka-based news programme that reviews the week, when confronted with clear evidence that soldiers had been dispatched.

"I have never attempted to hide the fact, Ralph", the President told host Ralph Wiggum. "We had simply never publicised it due to security considerations."

The Utanian convoy that dropped off troops in Dignania in early April arrived back in Utania on April 19th. Resupplied and with another 5700 soldiers boarding, the convoy was turned around within three days to take the next Brigade of soldiers to serve in Dignania, replacing soldiers who had served there for the past eight months.

"There will be an overlap period, yes", the President admitted, but denied that he was using this latest convoy of soldiers to bolster the number of Utanian peacekeepers. The ships will stay in Dignania some days while a "handover" begins and then the longest-serving three thousand Utanian peacekeepers will return to Utania. They will arrive back in Utania on May 28th.

For the same security reasons, the President refused to provide any details about the route the convoy would be taking to arrive in Dignania, only saying "We are keeping as many options open as possible to avoid any possibility of sabotage."

When asked whether he felt the security measures were "over the top", President Okarvits said that he felt they were "appropriate" given the tension in Dignania.

"So, is there any risk to Utanian troops over there, defending the border?"

The President paused before answering, but gave an emphatic "Yes".

"Yes, they are at risk. Not a substantial risk, but there has been cross-border skirmishes and I expect there may be again. Utanians remaining casualty free while attempting to do their jobs may be too much to expect from the situation, though obviously we are taking every precaution necessary."

The President denied that the risk-to-reward ratio was too high, saying that Utanian troops were learning enormously from the exercise with minimal risk.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)