Subject: AFP: Two UN workers killed Thursday, Indonesia promises troop action
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 14:57:39 EDT

Two UN workers killed, Indonesia promises troop action

DILI, East Timor, Sept 2 (AFP) - Two local employees of the United Nations were killed Thursday in East Timor as Indonesia gave in to mounting international calls for action with a promise its troops would restore order.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said details on the circumstances of the deaths were not yet available.

"We continue to be gravely concerned with security conditions in East Timor overall," the spokesman said at the United Nations.

The latest killings bring to three the number of UN staff killed following the stabbing Monday of a locally recruited poll worker in Atsabe, a pro-Indonesia hotbed 35 kilometres (22 miles) southwest of Dili.

Indonesian State Secretary Muladi said Thursday Jakarta might consider accepting international peacekeepers if the security situation worsened.

Shots were fired in Becora on the eastern outskirts of Dili, where six people died last week, and at least one house was torched during a clash between pro- and anti-Indonesia groups. There was no report of casualties.

Militiamen, many armed, were also returning in force to Gleno, Ermera district, where they had held up 150 UN staff for hours on Tuesday, forcing a journalist and poll observer to seek a police escort out.

Groups of pro-Jakarta militiamen on motorcycles roamed the near-empty streets of Dili while others manned roadblocks, witnesses said.

Fears of a mass exodus loomed after new violence Wednesday left at least three more dead. A military plane left Dili carrying Indonesian military families and 30 Indonesian journalists and photographers threatened by the militias.

Several foreign journalists were trying to organize a charter flight out and Muladi warned Indonesia was preparing for a quarter of East Timor's 850,000 population to flee if East Timor opted for independence.

Hundreds of Indonesians sailed for Java before dawn, and 200 refugees a day were reported to be heading into Indonesian West Timor.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said although Indonesian troops did not have a security role in Monday's vote under an agreement with East Timor's former colonial ruler Portugal, "they are now being asked to help the police."

Alatas spoke after a meeting with the special UN envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, in Jakarta.

UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) chief Ian Martin condemned the Indonesian police response to Wednesday's violence as "inadequate."

Military chief General Wiranto assured Martin troops "are now helping the police in ensuring the security of all UNAMET buildings and personnel and all foreign nationals right now in Dili." Alatas said.

Some 200 members of Indonesia's elite Brimob police unit arrived in Dili to bolster security.

The UN led international calls for action to prevent a repeat of the latest fighting, when militiamen Wednesday fought street battles with independence supporters and opened fire on people seeking refuge in the UNAMET offices.

The heavy turnout of nearly 99 percent in the self-determination vote strengthened expectations the vote was overwhelmingly for breaking away from Indonesia.

Aitarak militiamen, bent on stopping East Timorese from fleeing the territory, briefly held up the day's only outbound flight at Dili airport as they attempted to prevent one local from leaving.

Some 300 people overnighted at the UNAMET compound before returning Thursday to their shelter in a nearby school.

Two of the three killed in Wednesday's clashes died from gunshot wounds. Another was hacked to death and set on fire. Houses around the compound were burned by men of the Aitarak and Red and White Iron militias.

In New York, the UN Security Council condemned the violence "in the strongest terms," and called on Indonesia to prevent a recurrence, but stopped short of taking any action.

Washington aired "deep concern" over the violence and called "inadequate" the initial response of the Indonesian military and police.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said Ottawa had contacted the US, Australia and New Zealand in a bid to hold a special meeting on East Timor on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in New Zealand next week.

Despite the violence, UN officials continued a round-the-clock preliminary count of the 430,000 ballot papers. The final result is expected next week.

UNAMET also announced the arrival of the first 27 of an extra 150 unarmed military liaison officers due here over the next two weeks, to take the total to 200. Their deployment was delayed by Wednesday's militia violence.

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