Subject: SCMP: Trial of daily life in city of fear
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:52:45 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

South China Morning Post Thursday, July 8, 1999


Trial of daily life in city of fear


Fear and loathing mark daily life in the East Timorese capital, Dili, as anti-independence militias roam the outskirts and local residents refuse to go out after dark.

"Sometimes we hear militias shooting their guns. We all prefer to stay at home," one young East Timorese said yesterday.

The arrival of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (Unamet) helps him and his friends feel better, he said.

"But the atmosphere is a little unsteady.

"In Dili normally it's safe, but we are afraid of the militias and we know they get support from the Indonesian armed forces.

"I want to tell you that we, as Timorese, will never believe the Indonesian police and armed forces will co-operate with the UN, but we appreciate all the help of the UN," he said.

Schools have been closed since the end of the school year in late May and unemployment is high. Most young people simply sit around in public areas, or line up in their hundreds at the UN compound every day in the hope of finding some employment.

A foreign resident in Dili said that although the comfort level in the capital had increased significantly since the arrival of Unamet, no one wanted to be out on the streets after dark.

UN staff are prohibited from going anywhere alone, by foot or by car. The three hot-spots everyone wants to avoid are Maliana, Liquica and Viqueque, townships within 100km of Dili where recent militia violence has targeted UN facilities.

Aside from security, a major concern for many in the mission is health.

Many newly arrived personnel have come down with malaria, giardia and other tropical ailments, requiring some to be flown out to Darwin, northern Australia, for treatment.

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