Subject: LUSA: Belo confirms arming of civilians
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 09:56:40 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

25 JAN 99 - 19:05 East Timor: Bishop Belo Confirms that Indonesian Military is Arming Civilians

Lisbon, Jan. 25 (Lusa) - East Timor Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo has confirmed reports that the Indonesian army is distributing weapons to civilians in the territory. The militias receiving arms clearly support Indonesia's annexation of East Timor, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate stated. In a telephone interview broadcast on Portugal's RDP Internacional radio station, Bishop Belo said he had received his information from Indonesian military commanders, who argue that groups defending East Timor's right to self-determination are also armed.

In recent weeks, hundreds of civilians refugees have arrived in Dili, capital of East Timor, fleeing violence in the interior, where armed militias have instilled a climate of fear and persecution.

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