Subject: Timorese bishops: intervention or "We are all going to die"
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 07:02:10 EDT

Timorese Catholic bishops urge international intervention

LISBON, Sept 8 (AFP) - The Roman Catholic bishops of East Timor's two main cities issued appeals Wednesday for international intervention to stop the bloodshed in the former Portuguese colony.

"We are all going to die," cried the bishop of Baucau, Basilio do Nascimento, who fled to the hills after suffering a knife wound while trying to protect people who had sought refuge in his compound.

International intervention was urgent, or else "the people of East Timor will all die," he told Portugal's RDP radio station by telephone.

The telephone connection was cut as the bishop began to describe the situation.

In an interview with BBC radio meanwhile, the bishop of Dili, Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo, said it was "necessary and urgent" to send troops to East Timor, even if Jakarta disagreed.

"It is necessary to protect the people, otherwise many of them will die," he said from Darwin, Australia, where he fled under an assumed name from the widespread violence which followed East Timor's vote for independence.

Belo's residence in Dili, where several thousand people had taken shelter, was set on fire Monday by pro-Indonesian militiamen and Belo was evacuated by helicopter to Baucau.

Those at Belo's residence were either killed or forced to leave for West Timor.

Meanwhile, the daily Publico reported Wednesday that four Portuguese journalists had stayed behind in East Timor after other foreign media representatives were evacuated due to the violence.

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