Subject: SMH: East Timor resistance 'still too scared to campaign'
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:43:43 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Sydney Morning Herald 28/05/99

INDONESIA

Resistance 'still too scared to campaign'

Dili: An East Timorese resistance leader, Mr David Ximenes, dismissed yesterday a call by Indonesia for thousands of his supporters to come out of hiding to campaign ahead of the autonomy ballot, saying they still feared for their lives.

Mr Ximenes, spokesman for the National Council for Timorese Resistance, who went underground last month after pro-Jakarta militia groups went on killing rampages, said United Nations representatives in Dili had told them the UN could not guarantee their security.

He said he and his supporters believed militia groups would still attack and try to kill them despite the UN's growing presence.

"We simply cannot come out ... there is nothing to guarantee our safety and we do not believe the Indonesians are sincere," he said.

Up to 100 independence activists have been killed in attacks by militia groups since January.

On Wednesday Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, called on independence supporters who were hiding to come out and campaign. "They have to go out and be given a chance," he said.

Under a UN agreement between Indonesia and Portugal, Indonesian security forces are responsible for creating a climate free of fear and intimidation for the ballot, scheduled for August 8.

A 600-strong UN contingent, many of them Australians, only has authority to advise Indonesian police and help arrange the ballot.

Mr Ximenes said the Indonesian armed forces were continuing to intimidate and attack independence activists. He named three members of his organisation who were allegedly tortured and beaten on Wednesday in Liquica, 40 kilometres west of Dili.

Mr Ximenes welcomed the announcement by Australia's Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, that the Indonesian Government had given final approval for the reopening of an Australian consulate in Dili.

Hopes that East Timorese would take part in national elections on June 7 have suffered a blow, with only 43 per cent of eligible voters registering.

Election monitors in Jakarta say the registration figures in East Timor, among the lowest in the country, indicate many East Timorese do not want to take part in case it lends legitimacy to Indonesia's rule.

- Lindsay Murdoch

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