/** reg.easttimor: 3317.0 **/ ** Topic: Gunfire heard in Dili shortly after UNAMET leaves capital: observers ** ** Written 1:37 PM Sep 11, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor ** Subject: Gunfire heard in Dili shortly after UNAMET leaves capital: observers
Gunfire heard in Dili shortly after UNAMET leaves capital: observers
OTTAWA, Sept 11 (AFP) - Gunfire was heard again in Dili, half an hour after a delegation from the UN Security Council left the Timorese capital, Canadian police observers said Saturday in a satellite press conference.
"The situation had been rather calm Friday and Saturday, I'm sure because of the delegation's visit," said Corporal Magdi Saleh of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), speaking from Dili.
"The gunfire started half an hour after the delegation left," said Saleh from the headquarters of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).
Another Canadian police officer said 89 UNAMET members -- 14 civilian police, 35 military liaison officers and 40 UN staff -- were still in Dili looking after an estimated 1,100 Timorese refugees in the UN compound.
Asked whether the refugees faced a massacre at the hands of the pro-Indonesian militias rampaging in the territory, Toronto police Sergeant George Clanfield said he hoped international pressure would prevent that.
"I think (a massacre) would be a possibility," Clanfield said.
"But the pressure of the entire world upon the Indonesian government ... is what is protecting us, because we have nothing but that."
"If they wanted to they could easily break into the compound," Saleh concurred. "But we're sure they won't because that would be unacceptable in the eyes of international opinion."
"Our presence obliges the Indonesian police and military to do something," to protect the compound, Saleh added.
Both Canadians said they had no doubt about the complicity of the Indonesian military in the militia-led violence.
"We have seen military breaking into UN vehicles in the school compound beside us and helping the militiamen steal the UN vehicles," Clanfield said.
But Saleh said the militia groups now appeared to be outside the military's chain of command. "The people who were controlling them before have lost control," he said.
"The master has lost control of the beast."
In the meantime food, water and medical supplies are running low inside the UN compound.
"We have been unable to leave the compound in the last two days, so we have not been able to get out to get any supplies and they are running low," Clanfield said, vowing to remain.
"We can hang here as long as it takes to make sure that this job of taking care properly of these people is done."
** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **