|Subject: U.S. citizen shot in East Timor - U.N.
sources; Reports of massacre
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 05:34:10 EDT
- U.S. citizen shot in East Timor - U.N. sources - Reports of massacre follow independence result - Australia seeks support for UN troops grows - Bishop Belo Urges East Timorese To Accept Referendum Results
Reuters 4.53 a.m. ET (857 GMT) September 4, 1999
U.S. Citizen Shot In East Timor
DILI, East Timor A United States citizen has been shot in the stomach in the East Timorese town of Liquica, United Nations sources said Saturday.
They said a helicopter had been requested to evacuate the wounded U.N. staff member. No other details were immediately available.
The civilian police adviser "has been shot in the abdomen. He is being medivac-ed. He's lost a lot of blood,'' a U.N. official said later. Liquica is about 30 km (19 miles) west of the capital Dili.
The shooting follows mounting violence by pro-Jakarta militias in the former Portuguese colony after the announcement earlier in the day that a U.N.-organized vote had shown overwhelming support to break away from Indonesian rule.
The U.N. evacuated its staff from three towns Saturday.
There were also reports of unrest in the town of Maliana, on the border with Indonesia's West Timor. There were no details but a U.N. official said: "Certainly there has been a lot of killing.''
Australian Broadcasting Corp. Sat, Sep 4 1999 6:27 PM AEST
Fear has overtaken any thoughts of celebration in East Timor after today's announcement of a landslide vote for independence.
The United Nations says 78.5 per cent of East Timorese voters in last Monday's referendum opted to end 24 years of Indonesian rule and go it alone.
In Dili tonight, pro-Indonesian gunmen roam the streets, houses have been burnt down in some areas and there are unconfirmed reports of a massacre in the town of Maliana.
Observers from the International Federation for East Timor (IFET) were some of the last westerners to leave Maliana after United nations staff in the town were evacuated back to Dili.
IFET claims that before its observers left, pro-Jakarta militia massacred 20 refugees sheltering in a schoolyard.
They also claimed that up to 200 houses were burning in the town at the time they left.
No Western journalists have been able to travel to Maliana to check the claims, because roads into the area are guarded by heavily armed militiamen.
Roads to the east and west of East Timor's capital are under the control of milita and journalists still remaining in East Timor are confined to Dili.
Houses have been seen burning in the pro-indepedence suburb of Pakora, pro-independence leader Leandro Isaac visited journalists at the Makota hotel.
He said today's result was quote "victory, victory, victory" for the poor people of East Timor.
But Dili remains in a state of fear, with most people expecting increased violence as the days continue after today's announcement.
Local people have sought refuge in churches and the UN's compound.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. Sat, Sep 4 1999
Australia seeks support for UN troops grows
Australia wants armed United Nations troops in East Timor very soon.
The Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Australia is pursuing plans for an interim security force which could be deployed well before Indonesia's new Parliament convenes later this year.
He says Australia is ready to lead the force, but it will need the consent of both Indonesia and the UN Security Council.
"You could put together a force which is described in United Nations parlance as a 'Coalition of the Willing'," he said.
The Shadow Minister Laurie Brereton has reaffirmed Labor's calls for a full peacekeeping force.
"The sooner troops are in there the better," he said.
Mr Downer says East Timor has a long, difficult road ahead and maybe two years of UN control before it gains true independence. But he says Australia will give its full ongoing support.
"We will help the people of East Timor through this transition and we'll help them once they become a fully independent country."
Associated Press September 4, 1999
Bishop Urges East Timorese To Accept Referendum Results
JAKARTA (AP)--Nobel Peace laureate Bishop Carlos Belo urged fellow East Timorese on Saturday to accept the results of a referendum he described as the "voice of God."
Hours after the announcement that the overwhelming result of Monday's vote was for independence from Indonesia, Belo appealed for warring opponents to apologize to each other for recent bloodshed and accept the results with wisdom.
"Forget the bitter lives and days of sorrow of the past," Belo was quoted by the official Antara news agency as saying in Dili, the territory's capital.
The Roman Catholic bishop, who shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with independence activist Jose Ramos Horta, said the former Portuguese colony belonged to "all people who desire a peaceful, fair, democratic and prosperous East Timor."
Roman Catholicism is the predominant faith of East Timor's 850,000 people, but is a minority religion in overwhelmingly Muslim Indonesia.
Belo said that East Timorese should "not hunt or kill each other just because of differences in politics, religion, race or culture."
Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975, but many East Timorese resisted Jakarta's rule. The annexation of the half-island was never accepted by the international community.
In the referendum campaign, East Timorese who favored autonomy within Indonesia launched a terror campaign - believed to be backed by the Indonesian military - against pro-independence supporters.