|Subject: RT: Two Attacks On U.N. Staff In Timor;
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 10:02:14 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Friday August 6 6:01 AM ET
Attacks On U.N. Staff Mar Timor Registration
By Prapan Chankaew
DILI, East Timor (Reuters) - Voter registration for East Timor's independence vote ended in the territory Friday but rights bodies said reports of two attacks on U.N. staff augured ill for the referendum.
U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki blamed one of the attacks on pro-Jakarta militiamen, who are accused of a wave of bloodshed which has killed scores ahead of the August 30 vote.
Local rights group Yayasan HAK said the relatively weak efforts on the part of security forces suggested they did not want to see the historic vote succeed.
``The attack tends to make us think that this was part of a scenario that involved the police and that there is no goodwill from the military officials in the government in guaranteeing the success of the referendum,'' said Aniceto Neves of Yayasan HAK.
The ballot has been postponed twice due to concerns about violence involving the militias. Ueki said a team of Indonesian ministers including foreign minister Ali Alatas planned to visit the territory Saturday and would meet Ian Martin, head of the U.N.'s East Timor mission.
In one attack on U.N. workers, dozens of armed pro-Jakarta militiamen forced their way into a voter registration post and attacked the staff, although no injuries were reported, Ueki told a news conference in the capital Dili.
In a separate incident, a group of men hurled rocks and chunks of concrete at U.N. staff, injuring one U.N. civilian police officer.
``This was a vicious and swift attack that appeared to be well organized,'' he said. ``The group of 20 men began to turn over the plastic seating and also began hurling large chunks of concrete directly at UNAMET personnel as well as the students.
``During this incident one civilian police officer was hit by a large piece of concrete in the left shoulder and he was slightly injured.''
Police arrived swiftly but did not detain those involved in the attack, Ueki said.
Both incidents happened Thursday. Friday is the delayed final day of voter registration in East Timor, although Timorese outside the territory have two more days to register.
One student group said it was clearly part of a strategy by those favoring integration with Indonesia to make the August 30 vote fail.
``This is one of the strategies by organizations that strive for integration. It is an effort to make the referendum fail. They see the number of their supporters thinning, so they will find ways to make obstacles for the referendum,'' said Moises da Silva, of the Student Solidarity Council.
In the other incident, a truckload of 60 to 100 militiamen entered a registration post in the town of Batugade in the west of the territory, the United Nations said. Police later ejected the militiamen from the U.N. compound but they continued to loiter nearby and the U.N. staff were evacuated, Ueki said.
A senior commander of the Falintil resistance forces told Reuters at a jungle hideout the U.N. Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) had done too little to register his forces.
``We have a problem going to UNAMET and UNAMET can't come here,'' Falur Rate Laek said, accusing the Indonesian authorities of helping ineligible voters to register.
Falur added that Falintil had agreed to move its forces into designated camps under U.N. supervision, but would only disarm once the Indonesian military pulled out.
The United Nations says Indonesia is responsible for ensuring the ballot can take place in a peaceful and stable environment.
Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year. The U.N. has never recognized the move. Earlier this year Indonesian President B.J. Habibie said Indonesia would consider giving East Timor independence if it rejected an offer of greater autonomy under Jakarta rule.