|Subject: SMH: Mayor Threatens To Kill Aussies
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:05:18 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
News And Features; International News Mayor Threatens To Kill Aussies By Mark Dodd And Agencies
07/17/1999 Sydney Morning Herald Page 19
An East Timorese mayor has threatened to kill United Nations personnel -especially Australians - if they do not conduct fair voter registration ahead of the province's independence ballot.
Mr Guilherme dos Santos, the mayor of the Bobonaro region, said he would kill anyone from the UN Assistance Mission in East Timor if they failed to do a fair job.
The mission is supervising the UN-sponsored ballot on the troubled territory's future.
There are 20 Australians in Mr Dos Santos's region working on the ballot.
The UN was forced to suspend work at four registration sites yesterday after a militia attack left one person dead and five injured.
The UN spokesman in Dili, Mr David Wimhurst, said the registration sites at Zumalai, near south-western Suai, were closed after violence on Thursday morning.
"Outside of Dili, in the Suai area, we have run into a problem which has forced the suspension of registration in four centres," he said.
"The villagers apparently reported they had been attacked by Mahidi militia and that in the course of this incident one of the militia members was wounded and another one killed. We are investigating this. The Indonesian police are investigating this," Mr Wimhurst said, adding that four villagers had also been hurt in the attack.
Coincidentally, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in East Timor , Mr Ian Martin, and the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr Stanley Roth, visited Suai yesterday.
The UN might be forced to suspend voter registration in western Balibo for today, because of an expected mass rally by autonomy supporters.
Around Dili, registration proceeded peacefully, although many residents said they wanted to wait several days to ensure there was no trouble.
One woman outside a polling booth said: "I'm happy to register but I'm afraid of the army and the militia."
At another site in a school building at Motael, about 50 people waited to register. A Spanish policewoman in charge of security said the morning's big crowds had thinned before lunchtime, when many Dili residents retired for a siesta.
One man said: "I'm not afraid to register. This is good for East Timor , but not for Indonesia."
A hotel waiter, Mr Joao Pereira, 56, who served the Australian journalist Roger East his last breakfast in 1975 before he was executed by invading Indonesian soldiers, said he would register with his family yesterday afternoon.
Mr Wimhurst said people who had either lost their identity papers or had been robbed of them could register to vote by signing a special affidavit. There are an estimated 60,000 internally displaced people, mostly in the western region.