Subject: Militias Vow To Kill U.N. Timor Troops; New Wave of Massacres Feared
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 06:04:53 EDT

also: IPS: Refugees Face Acute Food Shortage, Danger in West Timor

Reuters, 5.55 a.m. ET (959 GMT) September 17, 1999

Militias Vow To Kill U.N. Timor Troops; New Wave of Massacres Feared

DILI, East Timor — Pro-Jakarta militiamen said they were ready to kill members of a U.N. force heading for East Timor Friday as the top bishop still in the territory warned of a new wave of massacres.

In Jakarta, fresh protests broke out at the Australian embassy as Australian corporations evacuated their staff from Indonesia.

Despite a relative calm in Dili, Red Cross officials said fresh blood on the streets showed that attacks by pro-Jakarta forces had not stopped. Smoke still hung over the city as the United Nations sent its first airdrops of urgent aid.

The violence, launched by the militias and some elements of the military, was triggered by last month's ballot favoring independence from Indonesia. Thousands are thought to have been killed since the August 30 vote.

Witnesses and Indonesian military officials said a man was shot in the shoulder in Dili's Bekora district Friday morning as he was waiting for rice to be distributed. It was unclear who carried out the attack.

In Atambua, a West Timor border town flooded with refugees, a leader of pro-Jakarta militias said forces had registered to fight the U.N. force due to arrive Sunday.

"At this moment entire components of the Command of the Pro-Integration Struggle in East Timor have registered themselves as volunteers ready to face the United Nations forces,'' Domingo De Deus said.

"We are ready to kill and to be killed,'' he said.

In East Timor's second city Baucau, the most senior clergyman left in the territory warned of another wave of murder unless pro-Jakarta militias were brought under control and called for a tribunal to investigate atrocities there.

Bishop of Baucau Basilio do Nascimento, speaking in an interview with Reuters, said the militiamen were mostly to blame for the savagery in his city.

"We can't say it's genocide yet...but genocide may happen if the Indonesian troops fail to control the militia,'' he said in Baucau, its streets largely deserted after weeks of violence by anti-independence militiamen who have been backed by the Indonesian military.

The city, 75 miles east of the capital Dili, was showing muted signs of returning to life. But the U.N. office has been burned and ransacked along with 71 U.N. cars.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had sent officials into the territory with food and medical supplies.

A spokeswoman in Jakarta said the ICRC had taken in more than 13 tons of food, including rice and high-protein biscuits.

She said the militia were still to be seen in the general vicinity of the capital and that stolen ICRC vehicles, stripped of their logos, were being used.

The ICRC plans to send in 15 expatriates after the weekend.

A priest working with refugees in Dare, just to the south of Dili, denied reports that the military had killed people there and that militia had besieged the area.

"The refugees are carrying guns and I never asked them if they are pro or against integration,'' the priest said on condition of anonymity.

The military had supplied five tons of rice to Dare and ICRC was due to send in food, he said.

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Excerpt: Separate reports by non-governmental organisations have said that the pro-Indonesian militias, who went on an orgy of killing in East Timor, have started regrouping in the West. ''Guns are coming into the Kupang militias via the neighbouring East Timor district of Maliana. Militia leaders associated with former President Suharto's son-in-law, Prabowo Subianto, are now resurfacing in West Timor,'' said a report by the Darwin-based Australians for a Free East Timor. General Prabowo was the chief of Indonesia's feared Special Forces. He was forced to resign last year after he was implicated in the disappearance and torture of Indonesian pro-democracy activists.

There are fears that the refugees in West Timor might be moved to other parts of Indonesia, instead of being sent back to East Timor when UN peacekeepers move in. 'It is almost certain that the refugees now in West Timor will be moved out to unknown destinations, without rights, money or hope,'' said Timor Aid in a statement. ''The humanitarian effort must focus on these people. Governments need to demand a census, consisting of names and locations of these people. NGOs should start initiating their own inquires about the whereabouts of these people-at-risk,'' it said.

EAST TIMOR: Refugees Face Acute Food Shortage in West Timor

By Sonny Inbaraj

DARWIN, Australia, Sep 17 (IPS) - Thousands of East Timorese refugees, who have crossed into Indonesia-controlled neighbouring West Timor, will soon face an acute food shortage if foreign aid agencies are denied access to them.

This warning was given on Friday by aid workers, operating from West Timor's capital, Kupang, who fear the humanitarian crisis in the Indonesian province could be far worse than East Timor in a couple of days.

This week, the UN Security Council approved an Australian-led multinational force to be sent to East Timor where thousands have been killed over the past weeks. The multinational force, however, has no legal authority to enter Indonesian controlled West Timor and there are no plans for food drops there either.

On Friday, the Australian Air Force was waiting for clearance to drop supplies to starving East Timorese who have fled to the mountains following the violent backlash of Indonesian military- controlled militias to an overwhelming yes vote in the Aug 30 independence ballot.

The official estimate of the numbers of East Timorese refugees in West Timor stands at 140,000 but many believe the figure is much higher. According to the Darwin-based Timor Aid relief agency, the number could be as high as 200,000.

Sanjay Sojwall, an aid worker for World Vision in Kupang said the situation in West Timor was getting worse by the day. ''Everything in the city is stretched out. There is no proper infrastructure to take care of these people. There is not enough water. There is not enough sanitation facilities,'' he said.

According to aid workers, the rice supply in the refugee camps will soon be depleted. ''Many refugees crosses the border with one sack of rice. That's now fast running out,'' said an aid worker who did not want to be named.

The lack of security means many foreign aid workers are unable to get access to the militia-controlled refugee camps to distribute supplies.

''One thing is that they are in a state of shock. The other thing is that they are afraid of everyone because of what they have experienced. They felt abandoned in East Timor and now they've come accross the border and they don't know who to trust,'' said World Vision's Sojwall.

With the United Nations ruling out food drops in West Timor and the multinational force unable to help out, Sanjay has warned of an acute food shortage unless the security situation improves.

Soywall said there were about 300 metric tonnes of rice stored in warehouses in Kupang port.

''We want to move it to the West Timor town of Atambua, where the refugees are, but we are not able to get the trucks because they have been hijacked by gun-totting people who are instead taking the trucks to Dili, in neighbouring East Timor, to evacuate their relatives.''

According to Community Aid Abroad's Simon Williamson, the population in Atambua has more than doubled because of the East Timorese refugees.

''When I was there a few weeks ago, they had to turn the water off for about eight hours a day because they didn't have enough supply. Now you've got double the population. It's really a serious, serious problem. Not just for water supply but for the diseases and kids in hospitals with diarrhea and other sorts of problems. it's a major concern there.''

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday aired concerns that the aid it wants to send to the refugees in West Timor would end up in the hands of the militias.

''We are hearing credible reports that the militia are controlling the camps in West Timor,'' UNHCR spokesman Fernando del Mundo told reporters in Jakarta.

''We don't want the same thing that happened in Goma when the UNHCR was criticised for 'feeding the butchers.''' Del Mundo said, referring to the Hutu-controlled camps in Goma during the 1994-96 Rwanda crisis.

Separate reports by non-governmental organisations have said that the pro-Indonesian militias, who went on an orgy of killing in East Timor, have started regrouping in the West.

''Guns are coming into the Kupang militias via the neighbouring East Timor district of Maliana. Militia leaders associated with former President Suharto's son-in-law, Prabowo Subianto, are now resurfacing in West Timor,'' said a report by the Darwin-based Australians for a Free East Timor.

General Prabowo was the chief of Indonesia's feared Special Forces. He was forced to resign last year afte he was implicated in the disappearance of Indonesian pro-democracy activists.

There are fears that the refugees in West Timor might be moved to other parts of Indonesia, instead of being sent back to East Timor when UN peacekeepers move in.

''It is almost certain that the refugees now in West Timor will be moved out to unknown destinations, without rights, money or hope,'' said Timor Aid in a statement.

''The humanitarian effort must focus on these people. Governments need to demand a census, consisting of names and locations of these people. NGOs should start initiating their own inquires about the whereabouts of these people-at-risk,'' it said. (IPS/END/ap-hd/si/ral/99)


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