/** reg.easttimor: 3336.0 **/

** Topic: Indon troops mount attack on starving E. Timor refugees: UN **
** Written 11:00 PM Sep 11, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Indon troops mount attack on starving E. Timor refugees: UN

Indonesian troops mount attack on starving East Timor refugees: UN

DARWIN, Australia, Sept 12 (AFP) - Indonesian troops and pro-Jakarta militia mounted an attack on thousands of unarmed and starving East Timorese south of Dili on Sunday, UN officials said here.

UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) spokesman David Wimhurst told reporters the United Nations had received three separate reports from East Timor about the attack in which troops were advancing up a mountain, killing as they went.

One of the witnesses, a man phoning from high on a mountain above the refugees at Dare, nine kilometres (six miles) from the capital Dili, told the UN he could hear the the sound of shots being fired below him and people screaming in terror.

"He said there are thousands of refugees down there," said Wimhurst, who received the last of the calls only seconds before briefing a news conference about it.

"He can hear the TNI (Indonesian armed forces) are advancing up the mountain killing everybody as they went."

Clearly angered by the latest developments, he said: "There is still no international peace keeping force in sight yet.

"They (the Indonesians) are still slaughtering people in East Timor and the international community has not acted."

Earlier, he told of growing alarm at the plight of the refugees, believed now to number more than 30,000, because they have no food left and international agencies are unable to get any to them.

He said a Catholic nun, Sister Ann Forbes, had told him minutes earlier that there was almost no food for a growing number of refugees and what little was left was going to the women and children.

"There is an urgent need to get food in there by the most speedy means possible," he said.

The UN had been negotiating with Indonesian authorities to try to secure guarantees for the safe transfer of up to 1,500 internal refugees to Dare, considered to be one of East Timor's few remaining safe areas.

But Wimhurst said none had so far been sent to Dare, where a major crisis was already developing before Sunday's attack, which he described as another "major crime against the East Timorese people.

"There is an urgent need for armed intervention to prevent these attacks continuing."

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, who arrived here Sunday, was earlier forced to call off a planned trip to East Timor's devastated capital to try to gain some first hand knowledge of what its people have been suffering.

The former Irish president was due to give a news conference here at 2:30 p.m. (0500 GMT), but earlier called for a war crimes tribunal to probe rights violations by Indonesia and the army-backed militia.

"I am here to emphasise that this is the gravest situation of human rights violations, that the poor people of East Timor are not forgotten," she said on her arrival at Darwin airport.

"There must be accountability for this level of savage terrorising of the people. I think that is the main message that I want to get across -- taking stock of the human rights violations and working towards accountability and no impunity."

Asked if she meant a tribunal to bring to justice those deemed responsible, she said: "Yes -- an international tribunal."

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