Subject: Belo blesses Suai survivors amid evidence of more atrocities

Timor's Belo blesses Suai survivors amid evidence of more atrocities

DILI, East Timor, Oct 26 (AFP) - Bishop Carlos Belo offered comfort and blessings to more than 1,000 people in the East Timorese town of Suai Tuesday, where as many as 200 people are believed to have been slaughtered in a church.

An Interfet soldier who was present told AFP grisly evidence of other atrocities was turning up in the Suai area daily.

He said Belo returned to Suai, 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the border with West Timor, for the first time since news of the alleged atrocities surfaced two weeks ago.

The 1996 Nobel peace laureate met with Brigadier Mark Evans, commander of Westfor, the Interfet battalion responsible for patrolling the border area, Westfor spokesman Major Chip Henriss-Anderssen told AFP.

Bishop Belo spoke for 10 minutes with Evans, and said he was thankful for the work Interfet has put into the area, he said.

Belo then performed an open-air special mass just meters from where now stands the gutted remains of the church where pro-Indonesian militia allegedly shot and butchered more than 200 East Timorese including at least one priest in September.

Henriss-Anderssen said Interfet has been gathering evidence on the church massacre and other atrocities committed by the miltia in the Suai region.

"We have found bodies all over the place. Everywhere you go in Suai people have been murdered. There are so many alleged crimes." he said.

"We are still finding bodies. As more and more people return from the mountains, more and more stories of alleged tragedies come to us."

Henriss-Anderssen said Westfor had found the remains of at least a dozen bodies "that we can verify were victims" of the pro-Indonesian militia that rampaged through the territory after the August 30 independence vote

The UN Human Rights Commission decided in September to set up a team to investigate human rights abuses in East Timor.

But the group has not yet arrived, causing widespread frustration among humanitarian groups over the delay.


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