Subject: AP: Security stepped up, militia sighted in Dili

Security stepped up as militiamen sighted in East Timor capital By HEATHER PATERSON Associated Press Writer

DILI, East Timor, Aug 15, 2000 -- U.N. troops boosted security in the East Timor's capital on the eve of Indonesia's national day after pro-Jakarta militiamen infiltrated into the town, peacekeeping spokesman Col. Brynjar Nymo said Wednesday.

Peacekeepers set up roadblocks on the three avenues leading into Dili.

Nymo said militiamen could have returned to Dili among groups of refugees from Indonesian-held West Timor.

Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in East Timor a year ago when pro-Indonesian militia men went on a frenzy of destruction after the people voted for independence from Indonesia in a U.N.-sponsored ballot.

The violence and destruction ended when international forces landed in the half-island territory in September. Most refugees have since returned home but about 80,000 - mainly militiamen and members of their families - remain in camps in West Timor.

The United Nations, which is administering East Timor during its transition to full independence, has repeatedly complained that militiamen are using West Timor as a base for border incursions.

Under pressure to stop escalating border violence, Indonesia this week promised to close the camps within six months.

U.N. officers believe that about 150 or 200 armed militiamen have infiltrated into East Timor after receiving training from rogue elements of the Indonesian army. They are said to be operating in five groups.

Two peacekeepers have died in a spate of firefights with the armed gangs during the past month.

Peacekeepers fear the militiamen may stage attacks on Aug. 17, Indonesia's Independence Day, to draw attention to their struggle for reintegration.

Nymo said the peacekeepers would continue to maintain high levels of security during the entire month as East Timor celebrates the first anniversary of the Aug. 31 vote for independence.

"We have marked a number of dates on our calendar that the militia may want to use to gain publicity. You will see the peacekeeping force maintain a very high tempo of operations for the entire month," said Nymo.


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