|Subject: Lusa: At Least 100 Militiamen
Still in Territory - UN
East Timor: At Least 100 Militiamen Still in Territory - UN 17 Oct-20:15
At least 100 members of anti-independence militias remain in East Timor, while another 30 have crossed the border back into Indonesia, the spokesman for the territory's UN Peacekeeping Force (PKF) said on Tuesday.
Col. Nymo told media in Dili that the number of militiamen active in UN-run East Timor may continue to decrease. "There has been no change in the militias' modus operandi. They continue to avoid contact with the PKF and UN, coming down from the mountains only when they're hungry," he said.
Queried on the militias` objectives, Nymo said data was still insufficient. Some of the groups are "starving and badly equipped," while others are "well organized, armed and equipped, with some military training," he added.
The PKF spokesman said that in the past few days there had been some contact with militia groups near the border, with most information on their activities provided by local residents.
In one of the most recent incidents, a group of three unidentified people, one of them armed, approached an Australian outpost about 5 kms south of Balibo. Two of them withdrew when challenged. The third remained in place, pointing his weapon at the peacekeepers, who fired several shots in his direction. There were no casualties.
Soon afterwards another person approached the same Australian position, where the sentinel again fired several rounds.
"In none of the cases did the gunmen fire any shots," Nymo said.
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