Biskop i Vest-Timor fortelle at militsiaen forfølger flyktninger også på indonesisk område (engelsk)

Atambua (Fides) - Pro-Indonesia militiamen continue their hunt into West Timor territory. They are searching through refugees camps looking for independence activists to kill. This report was sent to Fides by Catholic Bishop Anton Pain Radu of Atambua, a diocese of West Timor involved in providing shelter and assistance to East Timor refugees, at least 100,000. He said the local people and the refugees are terrified and the shooting must stop. "This is a protected area and these people have come here for safety and help", the Bishop told Fides, stressing also the local people's right to live their lives and go about their business in safety.

Vice-Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Yohanes Pake Pani admitted to Fides that it is impossible to keep check on the militiamen who move around the refugees camps: "We check the people as they arrive but the camps are by no means sealed and we cannot patrol the whole area".

Other local Christian, Muslim and Hindu leaders say militiamen have killed a number of refugees, suspected pro-Independence activists.

Since the outbreak of post-referendum violence in East Timor, more than 120,000 people have moved into West Timor. The largest group 70,000, is in Belu district, 30,000 are in Kupang, the provincial capital. Armed civilians have been seen patrolling main access to Kupang and Atambua.

Observers fear that post-referendum violence may spread to other parts of Indonesia, since there are many reports of harassment and aggression. Fides sources say the Indonesian intelligence service with pro-Indonesian East Timorese has contacted heads of neighbourhoods in big cities to be alert and control pro-independence activists who live in their surroundings.

Fr Denny Mari, Den Pasar diocesan priest reports that about eight East Timorese students who voted for the territory's independence are feared to have been shot dead. One East Timor student said that during the evacuation of people from East Timor by an Indonesian navy ship, at least 15 East Timorese were murdered.

Sister Bernadita Guhit, chairperson of the JP Commission of the Indonesia Bishops' Conference, told Fides that she has received dozens of requests for help from East Timor students in Jakarta who have been intimidated by phone-calls or anonymous letters. Fr Ignatius Ismartono of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, said a group of about 50 East Timor students were looking for a secure place because they had been intimidated in their lodging houses.

Meanwhile activists of the Solidarity for Peace in East Timor association, based in Jakarta and composed mainly of Indonesians, said its office had been threatened: "In 24 hours you must get out or we will not guarantee your safety" an anonymous caller said. But they are determined to remain, to be consistent with their struggle.

In Yogykarta, south of Central Java, pro-Indonesia East Timor students evicted pro-independence East Timor students from their house claming that the building is property of Indonesia. (Fides 16/09/1999)

av Webmaster publisert 18.09.1999, sist endret 18.09.1999 - 10:19