Subject: AFP: Pro-Indon militia attack independentists outside church
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 02:55:05 EDT

Pro-Indonesian militia attack independentists outside East Timor church

DILI, East Timor, Aug 19 (AFP) - Armed pro-Indonesian militia attacked a crowd of pro-independentists outside a church compound in the East Timor town of Suai, leaving several injured, a rights group said here.

The Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (YHAK) said the militia launched the early morning attack in Suai, some 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of here, as the pro-independentists were gathering outside the church to attend a rally in nearby Zumalai.

When the crowd was ready to leave, the militia began throwing stones.

YHAK said reports from the scene indicated the militia fired five shots, but it was unclear if they fired in the air or took aim at the independentists.

They said the pro-independence group fought back, and it was unclear which side the injured came from. When unarmed UN civilian police tried to reach the scene, the militia stopped them with a hail of stones that damaged their cars.

David Wimhurst, the spokesman for the UN Mission in East Timorsaid that UNAMET officers in Suai learned of the attack mid-morning.

"There were rocks thrown and some shots fired," he quoted a radio contact with UNAMET in Dili as saying.

He added that a UNAMET vehicle carrying electoral officers was damaged by a rock, but there were no injuries and all staff had returned to the UNAMET compound for safety.

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