Subject: UN Security Team Visits Refugee Camps In West Timor

Associated Press July 9, 2001

UN Security Team Visits Refugee Camps In West Timor

KUPANG, Indonesia (AP)--A U.N. security team toured refugee camps in Indonesia's West Timor province on Monday to assess whether it was safe for the world body's staff to return to the region where three aid workers were murdered last year.

The eight-member team, which arrived in the province on Sunday, visited three camps close to the West Timor provincial capital of Kupang.

Richard Manlove, who is heading the mission, said it was too early to say whether security conditions in the camps had improved enough for humanitarian officials to resume working in them.

Later in the week, the team plans to travel to Atambua, a town close to the province's border with East Timor.

Three U.N. aid workers - including a U.S. citizen - were killed last September in Atambua in the deadliest attack ever against the world body's civilian staff.

Six East Timorese anti-independence militiamen have been convicted for the slayings. The men were part of larger militia groups that fled from East Timor after the province voted overwhelmingly to break free from Indonesian rule in an August 1999 U.N.-sponsored independence referendum.

The U.N. and aid agencies evacuated all staff from the province after the killings, saying that the region is too unsafe for their return.

The estimated 50,000 East Timorese refugees living in camps in the province have been without international aid since the U.N. workers left.

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