/** reg.easttimor: 3455.0 **/
** Topic: Horror in E. Timor worse than UN believes: support group **
** Written 11:41 PM Sep 12, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Horror in E. Timor worse than UN believes: support group
Horror in East Timor worse than UN believes: support group
DARWIN, Australia, Sept 13 (AFP) - An East Timorese support group claimed here Monday to have received reports that tens of thousands of people had died in a deliberate genocidal campaign by Indonesia.
The East Timor International Support Centre also believes 300,000 to 400,000 people face death from starvation and thirst and another 250,000 people, a third of the population, have been deported in vast convoys of trucks and ships.
Darwin doctor Andrew McNaughton said the group has got information from people with access to the only satellite telephones left in East Timor painting the crisis as being even worse than the United Nations believes.
McNaughton says the information his group has been receiving -- from friends and relatives -- is entirely credible although there is a lack of hard evidence about the numbers involved.
"There's no doubt the Indonesian army is engaged in an attempted genocide, a final solution against the people of East Timor," he said.
"We don't use these words lightly. The way in which this has been put together shows that it has been planned for weeks and months as a major operation.
"The information we have indicates more than 200,000 people, perhaps by now 250,000 people, have been forcibly removed to West Timor and elsewhere.
"We know of vast convoys of trucks that have gone across the border to Atambua, we know of deportations in naval ships, we know that people have been flown out in planes."
Young people are alleged to have been taken out of concentration camps in Atambua and probably killed while others on ships had been beaten to death and thrown over the side.
"We have reports that ships have left Dili and come back empty within hours and there's a suspicion that the people on board have been killed."
He said the media focus has been on the besieged UN compound in Dile and on the Dare refugee enclave where 31,000 people face starvation, but the situation throughout East Timor is equally bad or worse.
Satellite cameras had confirmed that most of the towns of East Timor were ablaze at some stage, he said.
"We think and we know from evidence on the ground that in most of East Timor a lot of the towns and villages have been sacked and burnt, looted and destroyed."
There had been a systematic attack on East Timorese leaders, priests and nuns, with another religious leader, this time a Protestant moderator murdered at the weekend, McNaughton said.
"We have reason to believe that because people fled all over East Timor that there are probably some hundreds of thousands of people in the mountains, maybe as many as three or four hundred thousand people. It's not just Dili, it's everywhere.
"Before voting day people warned us that they would vote and run for the hills because they expected violent reprisals. We think that there are 300,000 to 400,000 in the mountains of East Timor.
"They don't have water, they don't have sufficient water, they don't have food, and we have reports that people are already dying in Dare and in other locations.
"They have fled to the mountains to be with the resistance but the resistance don't have the capacity to look after them and to provide food and water for tens of thousands of people.
"The situation is horrendous, tens of thousands dead, 200,000 forcibly deported, of whom many have probably already been killed in West Timor or elsewhere -- a major orchestrated forced deporation reminscent maybe of the Nazis.
"We have people dying in the mountains because of lack of humanitarian aid."
** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **