/** reg.easttimor: 3078.0 **/

** Topic: Up to 100,000 Terrified E.Timorese hiding in the hills: Fretilin **
** Written 1:11 AM Sep 9, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Up to 100,000 Terrified E.Timorese hiding in the hills: Fretilin

Up to 100,000 East Timorese hiding in the hills: Fretilin

SYDNEY, Sept 9 (AFP) - Up to 100,000 terrified East Timorese are sheltering in the rugged hills of the embattled province with food and water fast running out, resistance group Falintil said Thursday.

The fighters, who have waged a guerrilla war against Indonesia since its 1975 invasion of East Timor, have told Australian colleagues the militia violence of the last few days had forced thousands to flee to the hills, a spokesman for the group in Australia said.

"They don't know the exact number of people but they're saying 100,000, maybe more," said Fretilin Australia representative Harold Moucho. Fretilin is the political wing of Falintil.

Moucho said food and water were running out and some in hiding were in need of medical attention after being wounded during attacks by rampaging anti-independence militia members.

East Timorese hiding out in the hills still believed the United Nations and the international community were on the way to help them, the Fretilin spokesman said.

"They are hoping that if they go into the mountains for a while that things will be resolved quickly."

However the civilians may be putting themselves in greater danger. The Falantil force, numbering 500 to 2,000, claims Indonesian soldiers are seeking to surround their bases in a prelude to possible military action.

Moucho said the United Nations' planned withdrawal from the province was a "betrayal" since the UN organised the independence ballot which sparked the violence.

His comments were echoed by the sister of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta, Rosa Carrascalao, who Wednesday night began a hunger strike outside the UN's Sydney offices.

"The UN should do more," she said. "How can we believe in the UN after this? They seem to be scared of the Indonesia army. It it is a shame."

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