Subject: KY: U.N. concerned on E. Timor security, Jakarta urged to help

U.N. concerned on E. Timor security, Jakarta urged to help

NEW YORK, July 28 (Kyodo) -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday expressed concern about the security situation in East Timor and urged the Indonesian government to step up the crackdown on Indonesian militias opposed to the independence of the former Portuguese colony.

Annan outlined the East Timor security situation in a report to the U.N. Security Council, the first since the military arm of the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) went into operation in February this year.

The report said UNTAET forces have been subject to a series of attacks along the border between East and West Timor despite pledges by the Indonesian military to curb militia activities.

The report noted that there was a grenade attack against an UNTAET post on May 28, in which an Australian solider was injured and another attack on June 21.

The most serious incident took place on July 24 when an UNTAET patrol, investigating a reported cross-border incursion in the Cova Lima district, was attacked with automatic fire, the report said.

A new Zealand soldier was killed in the incident, the first casualty in UNTAET combat operation.

There have also been isolated incidents of shots being fired along the border between East and West Timor, particularly in the north, the report said.

On the refugee situation, the report said more than 167,000 East Timorese refugees have returned from Indonesia, but an estimated 85,000 to 120,000 refugees still remain in camps in West Timor.

The report said pro-Indonesia militias continue to exercise great influence in the refugee camps and impede UNTAET's repatriation efforts through intimation and violence.

The military arm of UNTAET, led by Lt. Gen. Boonstrang Niumpradit of Thailand since July 21, currently consists of 8,032 personnel, including 198 military observers, from 31 countries, according to the U.N. report.

The bulk of the forces comes from Australia (1,542), followed by Thailand (919), Pakistan (804), Portugal (759), Jordan (720), the Philippines (623) and Bangladesh (572).


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