Subject: RT: One killed in fresh E. Timor clash - report
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 09:03:39 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

One killed in fresh E. Timor clash - report 09:26 p.m Feb 17, 1999 Eastern

JAKARTA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - An East Timorese teenager was hacked and speared to death by a gang of pro-independence youths in the latest clash between rival groups in the troubled province, the official Antara news agency reported on Thursday.

It quoted East Timor deputy military commander Colonel Mudjiono as saying Juanico Gomes, 18, was killed by the pro-independence activists when he and some other youths tried to save an abducted friend in Maubara, west of the territory's capital, Dili.

``The victim died because of stabbed wounds after being mobbed by tens of pro-referendum youths,'' Mudjiono said.

Most East Timorese seeking independence want a referendum on the future of the former Portuguese colony.

Tension between those for and against Indonesian rule has mounted after Jakarta announced last month it would consider independence if its offer of autonomy was rejected.

Antara said Gomes had asked 10 friends to save Paulino Da Silva who had been abducted by the pro-independence groups at the Fatubou village in Maubara district.

It said fighting broke out when Gomes and his friends arrived.

The school student died from wounds caused by machetes and spears, Antara said.

Da Silva was also wounded and is in Dili hospital.

The latest bloodshed occurred just days after another man was shot in the head by unidentified youths.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday there was a risk that armed militias in the bloodied territory could get out of control.

ICRC president Cornelio Sommaruga appealed to all sides in the divided province to show moderation as Indonesia discusses its future.

Human rights groups and pro-independence activists have accused Jakarta of giving guns to Timorese loyalists who support Jakarta's rule.

Jakarta has denied arming loyalist groups, but said it has given guns to official units helping the military.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after Portugal withdrew suddenly. Jakarta annexed the territory the following year, a move not recognised by the United Nations.

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