|Subject: AFP: Timorese ask, Who can we complain to?
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 11:14:33 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Timorese ask, Who can we complain to?
DILI, East Timor, May 10 (AFP) - Bitterness ran deep here Monday as pro-Indonesian militia rampaged through areas of Dili, attacking pro-independentists for the second straight day.
"Who can we complain to?" Father Barreto, a priest who runs the local Caritas charity asked as the known death toll rose to two and rumors said six were dead.
Barreto spoke at the Motael church clinic where one man lay dead, a bullet in his back, another in the chest and his head split open by a machete.
A second screaming man was brought in by ambulance from the Santa Cruz area on the outskirts of the East Timor capital, the scene of the notorious 1991 Santa Cruz cemetery massacre.
Truckloads of militia had headed in that direction earlier, unchecked by military and police in their barracks as they raced past.
"We complain to the United Nations, they say 'We believe the Indonesians,'" he said, refering to Indonesian promises of a neutral police and armed forces in the run-up to a vote on self-determination on August 8.
"The Australian government too. I said the same thing to (Australian Foreign Minister Alexander) Downer. He too said 'We believe the Indonesians.'
"I am not a politician but a priest, but I say the reality," Father Baretto said, as he recounted how the militia had opened fire near the university.
"The soldiers were behind them," he said simply. "Do you believe a man who says he will protect his enemy?"
The two days of militia rampages in the streets followed the signing last week of an accord between Indonesia, which invaded East Timor in 1975, and Portugal, the territory's old colonial master, which would provide for a referendum on August 8.
A clause in the agreement says that the polling of the territory's 800,000 people will be held if the security situation permits.
The last peace talks under church auspices between the two sides were broken off by Nobel prize winning bishop of Dili, Carlos Ximenes Belo, following the massacre of at least 25 unarmed refugees in a churchyard in the town of Liquisa.
Two weeks later the militia again went on the rampage in Dili, killing at least 21 people as the police and military looked on.
And again on Monday, journalists saw troops standing by in their barracks, and even some troops following the militia.
Hours before dusk fell in Dili, another Caritas priest had a panic call from his house where his sister and her family are staying.
Father Alvez was told by his sister that the militia had rampaged through his house looking for her husband who was not home. They would, they said, return at dusk and kill the whole family if the husband had not shown up by then.
There were no UN civilian police to go to the rescue.