/** reg.easttimor: 2713.0 **/

** Topic: The Guardian: Militias 'intent on genocide' **
** Written 11:29 PM Sep 5, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: The Guardian: Militias 'intent on genocide'

also: 'Twenty villagers were shot while they were sleeping'; and 'Medical clinic under siege'

The Guardian [UK] Monday September 6, 1999

Militias 'intent on genocide'

Indonesia accused of genocide in East Timor

John Aglionby in Dili

Indonesia stood accused of genocide in East Timor yesterday as its armed forces allowed pro-Jakarta militias to intensify their campaign of murder, arson and intimidation across the territory.

Militiamen took over several towns, including the capital Dili, as Indonesia's armed forces commander, General Wiranto, and three cabinet ministers made a flying visit to East Timor and promised to deploy more troops to end the violence. Their refusal to leave the safety of the airport exposed their words to ridicule.

Sources put the death toll at more than 1,000 since last Monday's referendum on sovereignty in which 78.5% voted to sever ties with Jakarta. Hundreds are thought to have been killed since the announcement of the results on Saturday.

"There is every indication that a massacre is taking place, staged by [Indonesian] military forces," Ana Gomes, Lisbon's diplomatic envoy to Jakarta, told Portugal's TSF radio. "Over 100 dead would be a conservative estimate."

The foreign secretary, Robin Cook, yesterday called on the Indonesian government to allow the international community to help restore order.

"If the government of Indonesia cannot get its own security forces to restore order, it should allow the international community to assist in securing an orderly transition to independence in East Timor," he told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme.

However he stressed that any international peacekeeping force would only enter East Timor with Jakarta's consent.

Meanwhile the UN personnel now in East Timor, who were sent in to run the refer endum, are effectively prisoners in their own compound, which last night was besieged by militiamen who fired guns into the air to prevent UN staff from venturing out.

The UN security council was due to meet to discuss East Timor in New York last night.

An estimated 100,000 people have fled their homes in the past few days,many heading to the hills. Those who headed to ports found their way blocked by militiamen who prevented ships from departing.

More than 200,000 people have died in the 24 years since Indonesia invaded East Timor. President BJ Habibie offered the East Timorese their independence in January if they rejected an autonomy deal.

However the militias seem intent on destabilising East Timor before that can be realised.

A local UN employee said last night that his family had been told by soldiers to leave or be shot. "This is ethnic cleansing. They want to drive everyone out of the city who does not support autonomy," he said

The home of Bishop Carlos Belo, where up to 2,000 refugees were sheltering, was also attacked yesterday.

Earlier, Bishop Belo, who shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with independence activist Jose Ramos Horta, said: "The commitment of the Indonesian government and the Indonesian army to respect international agreements and human rights is non-existent.

"It is now urgent and necessary to have an international peacekeeping force."

Under the terms of the UN mandate on the referendum Indonesia is responsible for security in East Timor until its parliament ratifies the result. This is expected to happen in November. No UN personnel are allowed to carry arms.

UN officials are arguing that an international peacekeeping force would take too long to mobilise and what is needed is proper peace enforcement.

General Wiranto promised yesterday to send 1,400 extra troops to East Timor in addition to the 1,400 deployed last Friday.

But numbers are not the issue, according to UN military advisers in Dili. "It's all a matter of politics because these militias are really a joke," one said. "It would only take a few hundred good men a week to deal with them once and for all."

The Indonesian foreign minister, Ali Alatas, blamed the UN for the violence. He said the world body had not adequately explained to the defeated pro-autonomy groups the way it handled complaints of electoral fraud.

Western diplomats reject this and say the terror campaign is a deliberate strategy to provoke pro-independence Falintil guerrillas into leaving their mountain bases so they can be attacked.

The strategy appears to be working. The Falintil commander Taur Matan Ruak told Portuguese radio yesterday: "We will not accept further humiliation from the Indonesians. Our patience is starting to wear out.

"If things get worse, there'll be chaos and we will respond at a national level."