|=Subject: SMH: Envoy visits town of oppression
Date: Sat, 08 May 1999 09:35:00 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 08/05/99
Envoy visits town of oppression
By LINDSAY MURDOCH, Herald Correspondent in Dili
More than 30 heavily armed Indonesian troops escorted Australia's ambassador in Jakarta, Mr John McCarthy, yesterday to the East Timor town of Liquica, a stronghold of pro-Indonesian militia who have been indoctrinating thousands of villagers to support Jakarta's rule of the territory.
Mr McCarthy, making a four-day visit to the violence-racked territory, asked to go to the area after the Herald reported on Thursday that villagers were being trucked into a camp near the town, where they were living in appalling conditions and forced each day to swear allegiance to Indonesia.
Social workers and doctors in Dili were shocked when they viewed television footage of the camp taken by a news crew from Australia's Channel Nine.
Carloads of journalists, mostly Australians, were turned back from the area yesterday by armed Indonesian security forces.
Only a day after representatives of Indonesia and Portugal signed an agreement in New York giving 800,000 East Timorese the right to decide their own future, hundreds of students in Dili defied threats of violence by pro-Jakarta militia. They waved independence flags and chanted anti-Indonesian slogans outside the University of East Timor.
The students have been emboldened by the agreement which will see hundreds of United Nations personnel arrive in East Timor within weeks to monitor the ballot that will offer the choice of autonomy within Indonesia or independence. The demonstrators' numbers have grown daily, despite police warnings that they could not guarantee their safety.
For weeks militiamen backed by the Indonesian forces have taken control of most of East Timor's towns and many villages, often threatening violence unless people show their support for Jakarta by flying the Indonesian flag or wearing red and white, the flag's colours.
Human rights activists said yesterday that pro-Indonesian militia were continuing to spread terror among the families of resistance leaders, many of whom have fled into the mountains outside Dili.
Mrs Dulce Fernandez said that militiamen told her they were hunting her husband, Jovanio, 37. Afraid for his life, the pro-independence spokesman had joined hundreds of other men in the mountains.
Mrs Fernandez said the militia told her they would kidnap her 11-year-old son, Geovanio, and, when they found her husband, they would cut him in half.
"I am worried about my husband and son," she said. "But what can I do? I sleep in a different place each night. I think they might kill me also."
Human rights groups believe the pro-Jakarta militia have a list of 2,000 people they plan to kill before the August 8 ballot.
Police are believed to be preparing to release from protection a resistance leader, Mr Leandro Isaac, who has been staying at a police complex.
But the police say they will not provide protection for him at his Dili house and he will have to go to one of the militia-controlled refugee camps. He believes he would be killed if he went to one of the camps.
The secretary of the Dili-based Catholic relief agency, Caritas, Mr Estanslau Martins, believes he has been put on the death list because his organisation provides food for more than 11,000 refugees.