|Subject: AFP: Church group counts over 85,000
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:23:08 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Church group counts over 85,000 displaced people in troubled East Timor
DILI, East Timor, July 13 (AFP) - Terror and violence have displaced more than 85,000 people across the troubled territory of East Timor, a church group said here Tuesday.
Workers from Caritas, an East Timor church charity group, said here they have registered a total of 85,231 refugees across East Timor or about 33,000 more than last month.
"Out of that total, in Dili right now, there are 11,240 refugees," a Caritas worker said, declining to be identified.
"This number is the ones we are feeding here now, everyday there are more," the worker said.
The charity worker said before the Indonesian elections on June 7, a total of 7,720 refugees had been registered in Dili, adding the number in Dili was the largest for the city this year.
Almost half of the refugees here are from Maliana, in Bobonaro district.
The Caritas workers said the majority of the refugees were staying with family and friends in Dili, but added there were several other areas where they were also temporarily sheltered in makeshift tents and shacks across the city and its surroundings.
One of the sites is near the East Timor University with some 400 refugees sheltering in makeshift huts on a small open field, an AFP reporter saw.
Caritas said the refugees were mostly from areas where pro-Indonesian militia were most active -- Maliana, Ainaro, Liquisa, Suai and Ermera.
The refugees had fled their villages fearing violence, terror and intimidation by the militias.
The worst hit was the district of Liquisa, where following access difficulties, updates on the count of refugees were difficult, workers of the organisation said.
Liquisa is the stronghold of the Besi-Merah Putih militia which has been blamed for much of the violence in the area and in Dili, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of there in the past months.
Members of the militia last month attacked a returning convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian workers, including those from Caritas, after delivering food aid to refugees in Sare, not far from Liquisa. One worker was seriously injured.
The convoy was escorted by one car of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).