Violence in Dili continues to escalate

Krishna Lalbiharie umlalbi0 at SPAMcc.UManitoba.CA
Thu Aug 5 20:54:39 MDT 1999

Headline:Violence in Dili continues to escalate
Byline:Krishna Lalbiharie

Paramilitary violence intensified in East Timor's capital of Dili this past
week, further inculcating a climate of fear among Timorese pro-independence
        Reports indicate that within the last four days, an independence
supporter was murdered by militia, violent brawls occurred in one market
area resulted in one death, and armed militia attempted to enter a
voter-registration centre.
        The UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) is closing its registration
of voters for the August 30 referendum (originally scheduled for August 8)
on the Indonesian territory's future.
        Shots were fired yesterday, August 4, by masked militia near the UN
mission's regional headquarters while armed militia in a car pointed their
guns at a UN compounds' security staff. Reports yesterday, further
described a truck picking up several plastic-covered bundles of guns from
the market area, where local militia, Aitarak - meaning thorn - holds sway.
        Since August 3, Aitarak has allegedly held large barbed-wire
barricades at the ready near its headquarters in central Dili.
        The massing of paramilitaries near the UN mission's regional
headquarters was ostensibly in rebate for the leveling of militia member's
home, which in turn was borne from the murder of an independence supporter,
Angelino Ameral, who was shot dead on a road early Sunday morning.
        The Australian additionally reports that roadblocks composed of
rocks and logs were "hurriedly constructed by club-wielding independence
supporters in two places in front of the regional headquarters," yesterday,
and that "UN four-wheel drives were strategically parked across the
driveway to block any attack."
        Despite dozens of separate incidents of violence in Dili, this past
week, reporting of incursions remains little, notwithstanding attacks
involving UN personnel.
        David Ximenes, a leading member of the East Timorese Council for
Resistance, stated today that the violence "will continue to escalate
because the Indonesian police are not interested in containing it."

With files from the Australian.

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