Subject: UN Team Leaves W Timor After Touring Camps

Associated Press July 14, 2001

UN Team Leaves Indonesia W Timor After Touring Camps

KUPANG, Indonesia (AP)--A U.N. security team left Indonesia's West Timor province on Saturday after a weeklong tour of refugee camps.

The team was assessing whether it was safe for aid workers to return to West Timor after three U.N. humanitarian workers were slain last year.

Rickart Manlove, who headed the mission, refused to say if he thought security had improved in the camps.

Regional military chief Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa said team members told him that security was "better than they expected."

Three U.N. humanitarian workers were killed in September in Atambua town, close to the border with East Timor. It was the deadliest attack ever on the world body's civilian staff. Six East Timorese anti-independence militiamen were convicted in the slayings.

The militia groups moved from East Timor after the territory voted overwhelmingly to break free from Indonesian rule in an August 1999 U.N.-sponsored independence referendum.

The U.N. and other aid agencies evacuated all staff from West Timor after the killings and the world body has maintained that the region is too unsafe for their return.

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

The security team is to return to U.N. headquarters in New York and recommend whether the travel ban should be lifted.

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