/** reg.easttimor: 3209.0 **/
** Topic: Soldiers don UNAMET uniforms to herd abductees away **
** Written 12:26 PM Sep 10, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Soldiers don UNAMET uniforms to herd abductees away
Australian Broadcasting Corp. PM News Friday, September 10, 1999 6:22
East Timor wrap
MARK COLVIN: Outside the immediate area of the UNAMET compound the picture is also looking increasingly grim. Most journalists have now fled, along with hundreds of UNAMET workers, local and foreign, leaving only a skeleton staff to hang on. And as they leave, reports of mass executions and horrific conditions in refugee camps, growing by thousands each hour as the East Timorese flee the militias.
Annie White reports:
ANNIE WHITE: It seems the harder it is to get information out of East Timor the worse the stories we do here are becoming. Katherine Kennedy is in West Timor. She hears people dressed as UNAMET workers are loading East Timorese on planes heading for unknown locations.
KATHERINE KENNEDY: There seems to be a near zero policy being enacted, and this has been planned for a long time. If you can believe what the local people are saying, this has actually been planned and organised well in advance, and they've now cleared - most of the area west of Dili is completely cleared of inhabitants. So those who support integration have been moved out, and those who oppose have been executed en masse.
ANNIE WHITE: And she hears people who try to leave the refugee camps now bursting with as many as 120,000 people are being executed.
KATHERINE KENNEDY: I mean, we've had eye-witness reports of, you know, up to 35 people at a time being shot as they try to leave. There's also - there are patrols. The refugee camps here are fully under the control of the Army and of their hit squads, and they are also going through and pulling out the people belonging to that camp.
ANNIE WHITE: An Australian woman working with refugees near the town of Dare where thousands of East Timorese are being escorted to by Indonesian police is believed to have called the UN mission still in Dili, telling of horrendous conditions - no food or water, and people pouring into the relative safety of the hills.
And AP journalist John Martinkus reports piles of bodies of murdered East Timorese have been stacked in cells at Dili's Indonesian police headquarters. But it's getting harder to tell the story. The UNAMET compound is almost empty now. Most of the refugees have left or will soon, and most UN workers, both foreign and local, have been evacuated to Darwin.
Brian Kelly is staying. He's deputy head of UNAMET Information, and he says he's one of the lucky ones, privileged enough to be allowed to stay.
BRIAN KELLY: And I certainly don't think it's a matter of heroics. I think it's a matter of commitment, it's a matter of experience, and it is a matter of belief in the people of East Timor and in the mission that we were sent here to accomplish in our absolute belief in the outcome of the popular consultation, and our commitment to standing by the people of East Timor.
ANNIE WHITE: Journalists are not allowed to stay. Lindsay Murdoch left with much regret today.
LINDSAY MURDOCH: I'm very weepy at the moment because we've been living with these - with these people - I hate the term 'refugees' because what they are - they're mothers and they're kids. They've been forced from their homes to escape being slaughtered. They have the clothes they stand up in and nothing else. It is wrenching to leave them.
ANNIE WHITE: Some refused to go. This journalist - Robert Carroll - was told he could not stay, and refusing to leave, he's headed for the hills, saying someone had to remain to tell the story.
ROBERT CARROLL: If I sound a bit, um, uncertain, whatever, it's because I didn't sleep the night before, and I slept an hour before, and I had to make a perilous escape, you know, avoiding patrols where you can get shot on sight - it's marshall law, after all - climb up a very dangerous hillside where you're stumbling with big bags and in pitch blackness, and I walked for four hours. So I was - and another two hours afterwards. So I'm really not really - so I'm a little bit [inaudible].
MARK COLVIN: Robert Carroll, a journalist - one of the journalists who refused to leave East Timor today.
** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **