Subject: UN Lauds Indonesia Army's Seizure Of Timor Militia's Arms

Associated Press August 20, 2001

UN Lauds Indonesia Army's Seizure Of Timor Militia's Arms

DILI, East Timor (AP)--The U.N. administration in East Timor Monday commended Indonesia's security forces for seizing hundreds of weapons from anti-independence militias in Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

"We applaud these efforts," a U.N. spokeswoman quoted chief administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello as saying. We "hope that the effort to remove these weapons from circulation will continue."

Indonesian police Col. Edward Pakasi said officers raided East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor last week and seized a number of militia weapons, including seven rifles, 204 homemade firearms, seven grenades, 1,296 bullets, 742 spears and machetes. No one was arrested.

Hundreds of East Timorese paramilitaries are living in camps in West Timor among approximately 50,000 refugees who fled their homeland two years ago after the territory voted to break away from Indonesia. The U.N.-sponsored independence referendum triggered a bloody backlash by the militias that left hundreds of people dead and devastated the territory.

Since then, paramilitaries have launched occasional cross-border incursions into East Timor, attacking peacekeepers and villagers.

U.N. troops have increased security amid fears of more raids in the lead-up to East Timor's first free elections on Aug. 30.

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