|Subject: SMH: Security concerns UN chief
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 10:49:18 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 12/06/99
Security concerns UN chief
By MARK DODD Herald Correspondent in Dili
Dili: The United Nations chief in East Timor, Mr Ian Martin, has raised serious concerns about security in the province following continuing reports of violence and intimidation by pro-Indonesian militias.
Mr Martin, the head of the UN Assistance Mission to East Timor (UNAMET), expressed his concerns during meetings on Thursday with local government officials, army and police chiefs in two districts with a poor reputation for security, the UN spokesman Mr David Wimhurst said.
"Some of the most intensive reports of militia activity took place in Bobanaro district of which Maliana is the capital," Mr Wimhurst said, quoting Mr Martin, who had visited Suai and Bobanaro in the western border region of East Timor. Local government officials in Maliana and Suai denied any security problems linked to recent militia action, prompting a caustic response from Mr Wimhurst at a news briefing yesterday.
"Everyone knows there's problems in Suai. The fact that local authorities are unable to confirm this suggests there is a problem there that needs to be resolved,"he said.
Earlier this month Catholic Church sources in Suai claimed pro-Jakarta militiamen had bragged of killing up to 500 pro-independence supporters between February and April and of dumping the corpses into several crocodile-infested lakes.
Human rights workers and aid organisations report continuing widespread militia intimidation throughout rural East Timor.
More than 100 people, mostly pro-independence supporters, have been killed since January as a result of political violence.
Mr Wimhurst said the UN chief was satisfied with assurances of co-operation by senior Indonesian police officers charged with maintaining law and order in East Timor in the run-up to the referendum on self-determination scheduled for August 8.
However, Mr Wimhurst said security conditions necessary for the registration of voters in East Timor had not yet been met.
The United Nations' top human rights official said she regretted the leader of a violent anti-independence militia group has been allowed to take part in the regional capital's civil defence force, Associated Press reported yesterday.
Mrs Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the appointment of Eurico Guterres, leader of the Aitarak militia, "did not inspire confidence in the prospects for a free and fair ballot in East Timor next August".