/** reg.easttimor: 3202.0 **/
** Topic: Latest eyewitness report from Dili UN compound: "terror" **
** Written 11:09 AM Sep 10, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Latest eyewitness report from Dili UN compound: "terror"
ABC Transcript 7:30 News with Kerry O'Brien 10/09/1999
Dili compound attacked after UN evacuation
KERRY O'BRIEN: Welcome to the 7:30 Report.
Tonight, the people of East Timor virtually abandoned to Indonesia's scorched earth policy, the few remaining UN personnel and the thousand or more refugees with them in the Dili compound under renewed threat from heavily-armed militia.
The situation appears to be continuing to deteriorate.
While the stories emerging from Timor continue to reflect immense tragedy coupled with great courage, the wider picture of the international community's efforts to at least pause if not end this awful saga of shame, remains one of little hope.
Suddenly, the world's leaders are treading softly, softly for fear of contributing to the downfall of Indonesia's President Habibie and an even greater dominance by the military leadership of General Wiranto.
Tonight, we feature the bravery of an elderly nun in the hills outside Dili, the mixed signals from political leaders in Auckland and some insights to the power dynamics in Jakarta.
But first, the siege of Dili.
Marie Colvin, 'Sunday Times' correspondent, facing an uncertain fate herself, is now virtually a lone voice reporting to the outside world from a media corps that once numbered well over 100.
I spoke with her by satellite phone late today.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Marie Colvin, it sounds like the situation is getting worse by the hour there in Dili.
Is that right?
MARIE COLVIN, 'SUNDAY TIMES' CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's deteriorated rapidly today shortly after a convoy left evacuating UN staff, local staff and a number of journalists.
That convoy -- a lot of the -- well most of the soldiers, Indonesian soldiers around the perimeter went to the convoy to secure it.
The UN compound was immediately -- militia immediately poured into the -- against the walls started threatening to throw grenades over the walls, panicked the refugees who were outside, so much so that two little women threw themselves on to the barbed wire over the walls.
They're badly injured and then started demanding cars and vehicles and were joined by the army in smashing up windshields to get into those vehicles.
It's a very dangerous situation.
KERRY O'BRIEN: You've been there for some time now.
How would you compare the sense from inside of what is going on outside, the sense of menace that you're obviously feeling from the militia and even the military compared to previous days?
MARIE COLVIN: Today's really been the worst day.
This is the first day they actually began threatening the perimeter and, you know, felt strong enough to -- blatantly, acting with the military, steal vehicles, a 10-tonne truck full of supplies, a pickup truck, several other vehicles.
KERRY O'BRIEN: What is the attitude of the Indonesian military who are supposed to be guarding the compound?
MARIE COLVIN: Oh, I'll just describe the scene that I saw, which is two of these militia trying to smash in the windshield of a pickup truck.
They were, for some reason, unable to do so and several soldiers came along and managed to smash it in with their rifles butts at which point this mixed group of militia and military started looting the vehicle and trying t o get it started.
I don't think you need much more of an example to say that they are cooperating.
KERRY O'BRIEN: What is the mood inside the compound now?
There's I wouldn't say panic, but there's thousands of refugees inside, most of them women and children.
They're very, very scared.
They're targets of these people.
They think they're going to be slaughtered. They have experience, they're probably right.
What's keeping them from panicking is the fact that 80 members of the UN staff have volunteered to stay behind.
You have to remember, these refugees are in this position because they voted for independence.
One of the slogans -- the UN monitored that election -- one of the slogans of the election was "Don't be afraid, the UN will stay."
People then voted and are now targets.
Anyone who voted for independence -- which is as we know, 80 per cent of the population -- is being targeted by the militia.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Marie, you've been very careful in talking about everyone else and not your self.
How are you feeling about this personally and how hard a decision was it for you to stay?
MARIE COLVIN: I stay because there's 1,000 refugees there who are targets and are defenceless.
Without some journalists being able to report on what is being done to them, I just felt that would -- not that I can personally do anything but it would at least be some small form of deterrence.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Marie Colvin, good luck and thank you very much for talking with us.
MARIE COLVIN: Thank you.
** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **