Etterforskning innledes av massakrer i kirker

SUAI, East Timor ( - Australian peacekeepers began gathering evidence of massacres at two Catholic churches in East Timor on Thursday, where eyewitnesses said more than 100 people were killed by anti-independence militias.

The investigators said their initial conclusions were that some of the victims were clearly trying to flee as they were shot. "This was clearly a massacre," said Lt. Damian Hill, who interviewed dozens of residents who have returned to Suai from nearby mountains where they fled during the violence. Although the evidence includes bloodstains, bullet holes, two sets of human bones found at the Ave Maria and Nossa Senhora de Fatima churches, no other corpses or new graves were found.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. In August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the former Portugese colony.

Currently, about 8,000 peacekeepers from different countries have regained control of Dili and several other major cities, but not East Timor's remote villages.

CWN - Catholic World News

av Webmaster publisert 16.10.1999, sist endret 16.10.1999 - 11:15