|Subject: RT: TV reports 2 killed in ET
Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 10:54:26 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Two die in clashes in East Timor - television 03:19 a.m. Jan 04, 1999 Eastern
JAKARTA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Two people were killed in Indonesia's troubled province of East Timor in a clash between supporters and opponents of Jakarta rule, a local private television station reported on Monday.
SCTV reported that two people died and another five were seriously wounded during the clashes which broke out on Sunday in East Timor's town of Manutasi in the Ainaro district.
It said the casualties were all from a group demanding a referendum on rule by Indonesia.
There was no immediate official confirmation.
Foreign Minister Ali Alatas told the station that agitators were deliberately creating incidents to draw the military into committing acts which could later be used against the government.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after colonial power Portugal pulled out. Jakarta annexed the territory the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations.
Analysts say there is strong anti-Indonesian feeling within East Timor where up to 200,000 people are estimated to have died in fighting and from disease and starvation since Jakarta took over.
Despite its brutal rule, the Indonesian government has pumped large amounts of aid into the impoverished territory and question-marks hang over whether it could survive economically as an independent state.
President B.J. Habibie promised to grant wide-ranging autonomy to the territory shortly after he came to power in May last year.
In August, Indonesia and Portugal began talks in August to decide on the territory's fate. The talks ended in November and are due to resume next month.
Alatas urged all parties to exercise restraint and not jeopardise the talks.