Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Thu, 9 Sep 1999 19:25 AEST

UN confirms massacre at Suai church

The United Nations has confirmation a massacre in which approximately 100 supporters of independence were shot or hacked to death by rampaging pro-Jakarta militia members earlier this week.

The victims were among more than 2,000 terrified people who had taken refuge from the militia for some weeks in a church in the western town of Suai.

Three priests are believed to have been among those killed during the militia attack on Tuesday.

The East Timorese head of the Catholic aid agency Caritas, Father Francisco Barreto, is also believed to have been killed.

In other reports, six nuns from the Canossian order were reportedly killed in the city of Baucau, 115 kilometres east of Dili.

A spokeswoman for Caritas in Australia said priests have been identified as supporting independence because pro-independence supporters had begun seeking shelter in church buildings in the past months.

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **