Subject: AFP: Pro-Jakarta militiamen harass Timorese: bishop

Pro-Jakarta militiamen harass Timorese: bishop

LISBON, Aug 23 (AFP) - Pro-Indonesian militias are infiltrating East Timor and increasingly harassing the local population, Timorese archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ximenes Belo said in a Portuguese newspaper.

Archbishop Belo called on the East Timorese resistance movement, the National Resistance Council of East Timor(CNRT), to appease locals' fears and "find a way to stop" the groups from entering the territory.

"The people are worried. I urge the CNRT to consider their security. To reassure them with words and, at the same time, to seek the means to stop these groups," the Nobel prize winner said in the newspaper interview on Tuesday.

The bishop suggested a collaboration between former East Timorese guerrillas and the UN peacekeepers there to stop the infiltrators from sneaking across the border from Indonesian West Timor.

"We must also ask these people, who hide in groups, what they want. If they want to integrate peacefully they are welcome. But we cannot have a repetition of the actions committed last September," he said.

Pro-Jakarta militas went on the rampage following East Timor's vote for independence from Indonesia last year.

Asked about the appearance of new parties in the territory, Belo called for "unity and consensus".

"We need to concentrate on what's important. The people want peace and reconstruction," he concluded.

The former Portuguese colony of East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and annexed the following year.

It has been administered by the United Nations since last October.

In a referendum last August, the population voted overwhelmingly for independence.

em/pvh/mtp AFP

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