|Subject: AFP: Militia members attack UN post
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 09:06:00 +0000
From: The AustralAsian <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Militia members attack unarmed UN post in East Timor
DILI, East Timor, June 29 (AFP) - A 100-strong mob of pro-Indonesian militiamen attacked an unarmed UN outpost in East Timor Tuesday, injuring a woman electoral officer and several East Timorese, a UN official said.
***"One UNAMET staff member, a woman district electoral officer of South African nationality, suffered a minor injury to her leg and several East Timorese suffered head and other injuries," the UN mission in East Timor (UNAMET) said in a statement.
It was the first reported violence against the UN mission since it began deploying last month in East Timor, which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, ahead of a planned vote on independence or autonomy scheduled for August.
A UNAMET official told AFP that about 100 militia members were involved in the attack on the UNAMET regional office in Maliana township in Bobonaro district, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of here, around 10:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) Tuesday.
The statement said the attackers were "a group estimated at around 100 militia who were among a larger crowd who had gathered outside the office."
"The militia threw rocks and stones at the office where UNAMET staff were present," as well as some local people who had taken shelter there.
"The UNAMET office was considerably damaged," the statement said, adding that a fuller report would be issued when the mission's chief security officer, who had rushed to the site, returned to the territory's capital Dili.
Commenting on initial reports that there had been 12 UNAMET casualties, the official said: "They are all back in Dili now. There is only one injured."
But a source close to the United Nations here said 11 East Timorese had been injured in the attack lasting some two hours.
He said the East Timorese casualties had been hospitalized in Maliana.
Anicetto Guterres of the private Justice and Peace Commission in Dili said he had reports from local people in Maliana that scores of militiamen had attacked the post.
He said the attackers were armed with wooden clubs and rocks, not with firearms.
"I've only heard of one person being injured, maybe from broken pieces of glass when a rock hit," he said.
Guterres said the main local Indonesian police station was about one kilometre (mile) away but a smaller police post was just across from the UNAMET office.
*** Police did not arrive on the scene until after the attack, he said.
Diplomatic sources said a newly created pro-Jakarta militia group known as "Dodarus" was responsible for the attack.
Pro- and anti-independence East Timorese leaders are currently in Jakarta for three days of talks in an effort to reduce the violence in East Timor ahead of the vote.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has already ordered a two-week delay in the vote, originally scheduled for August 8, partly because of the continuing violence in the East Timorese countryside.
The UNAMET official said the chief security officer was accompanied to Maliana by a senior UNAMET civilian police officer and by senior Indonesian police liaison officers.
The group would report to Ian Martin, Annan's special representative in East Timor, and to the chairman of the Indonesian task force in East Timor on its return to Dili, he said.
The Indonesian army-backed militia have been blamed for most of the violence in the former Portuguese colony since January, when the Indonesian government first announced it might grant East Timor independence if its people rejected an autonomy offer.
Indonesia and Portugal agreed in May that the UN would send in contingents of unarmed civilian police and electoral officers to supervise the vote, while leaving security to the Indonesian police.
The AustralAsian For News, Views and Comments on the Asia-Pacific Visit http://www.theaustralasian.com editor: Sonny Inbaraj