/** reg.easttimor: 2710.0 **/

** Topic: SCMP:'We're completely helpless, waiting to get killed' **
** Written 11:07 PM Sep 5, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: SCMP:'We're completely helpless, waiting to get killed'

South China Morning Post Monday, September 6, 1999

'We're completely helpless, waiting to get killed'

Clear targeting of UN staff by military, police, and militias working together


"We're under siege. There is very, very heavy automatic fire in the immediate area of the compound. It's very loud. We all stayed here last night [Saturday] and will again tonight.

Lots of UN staff have been evacuated from the regions into Dili, and 60 non-essential staff have been flown out to Darwin.

We're keeping our chins up here, but the shooting last night of an American CivPol [UN civilian police officer] was very clearly an attempt to kill, to kill Unamet people. Members of the militia, the TNI [Indonesian armed forces] and [Indonesian police] were seen levelling their weapons and firing them at Unamet people.

It was a targeted job. It was not just to scare us. They were shooting through doors, windows, wheels of the UN vehicles. The shot that went into the Civpol's stomach went through the door of the car, and through him. So these are very high-powered weapons here.

The convoy of six UN vehicles was trying to leave Liquica and there were ambushes all along the way to the police headquarters.

It was very well planned. There were people standing alongside the road, shooting at the United Nations.

When two helicopters came in to take out the wounded man, they were both fired upon, even though the landing zone was supposed to be secured by Indonesian police.

Today [Sunday], a group of my colleagues went in two UN Jeeps to one of the hotels, a quick dash to pick up some things for staying in the compound.

They came under fire, in central Dili. Both vehicles were hit by weapon fire. They were shooting at the doors and windows, the back window of one was completely shattered. It's a miracle no one was hurt.

There's no question. This is a clear targeting of UN staff. Going out in a UN vehicle is a death warrant.

What we've seen is three or four months of complicity between the TNI and the militia and the police. Now it's not just complicity, it's the three of them acting together, actually shooting at the UN.

There's simply no excuse - to have all these troops here and to have all this shooting. They want to scare us out.

There's an increasing feeling of helplessness here. No one at Unamet wants to leave. We have a moral obligation [to stay], both as individuals and as Unamet staff.

Of course we want peacekeepers in. There's a lot of feeling here we are completely helpless. We're waiting here to get killed."

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **