Subject: UNAMET to push for probes into killed, missing East Timor staff

UNAMET to push for probes into killed, missing East Timor staff

DILI, East Timor, Oct 24 (AFP) - The head of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), Ian Martin, on Sunday pledged the United Nations will press for a result from all investigations into killed and missing East Timorese UN staff members.

"I wish to assure the families and friends and all Timorese that the United Nations will pursue all possible efforts to bring to conclusion the investigation of the cases of any of our staff who have been killed or disappeared," Martin said at the Dili Cathedral during a Sunday service.

At least four local UNAMET staff were killed following the August 30 UN-organized ballot in which East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to break from Indonesia.

An as yet undetermined number of staff have been listed as missing since pro-Indonesia militias launched a campaign of terror and destruction following the ballot.

"In the name of the (UN) secretary general and all the staff of UNAMET, I wish to pay tribute ... to all the Timorese men and women who have since last May contributed to the UN efforts to carry out the popular consultation," Martin said.

"Some of them have paid with their life, for their commitment to the organisation and its goals in East Timor," he told a congregation of locals, UN staff members and soldiers.

With a UN flag placed at the altar, Martin led a minute of silence for the four known casualties and the many more missing.

Joao Lopes Gomes and Alvaro Lopes Gomes were killed within hours of East Timor's vote for independence on August 30 in Atsabe.

On September 2, Domingo Perreira Soares and Ruben Bacoz were killed in Maliana.

The unchecked militia rampage led to the deployment of the UN-sanctioned International Force for East Timot (Interfet) which has since secured most of the territory.

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