Subject: AFP: Pro-Indonesia militias attack houses in East Timor capital
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:11:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Pro-Indonesia militias attack houses in East Timor capital

DILI, East Timor, May 17 (AFP) - Pro-Indonesia militias ransacked or torched the homes of independence supporters here in a night attack and trapped several United Nations personnel in a restaurant, residents and reports said Monday. The attack took place around 10:00 pm Sunday, said residents of Metiaut village on the eastern outskirts of the East Timorese capital Dili.

No casualties were reported as the villagers fled before the attack by the group of armed men. Residents said they were believed to be from the Aitarak (Thorn) pro-Indonesia militia.

In Sydney the Australian Associated Press, in a report from its Dili correspondent John Martinkus, said an Australian diplomat and several UN personnel were trapped in a beachfront restaurant during the attack.

Martinkus said the militia, armed with M-16 rifles and pistols, torched 10 houses and ransacked 10 others.

The group of nine was trapped until police arrived from Dili to bring them back to the city, he said.

AAP quoted a spokesman for the United Nations team, an advance guard for a civilian and police force which will supervise an August 8 referendum on autonomy or independence, as saying he would report the attack.

"The United Nations will be taking this matter up with the Indonesian authorities because it is an example of the lack of security which is destabilizing the peace process here," David Wimhurst told AAP.

"The security authorities here must take the necessary steps to stop these militia from attacking civilians, burning down homes and intimidating the civilian population."

The raid came shortly after the return of the militia leaders from the resort island of Bali, where they had been attending a weekend briefing by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Jakarta's autonomy proposal.

It followed violence the previous Sunday and Monday when pro-Indonesia militia rampaged through Dili, killing 11 people according to a human rights group.

Last week's attacks forced thousands of pro-independence supporters to flee the residential areas targeted by the militia.

Violence has escalated despite the signing of an agreement on the autonomy offer by Jakarta and Lisbon at the United Nations in New York on May 5, and a peace pact signed by representatives of the pro- and anti-independence camps in Dili last month.

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