/** reg.easttimor: 2982.0 **/
** Topic: We will shoot foreign soldiers: Dili's mayor **
** Written 9:12 AM Sep 8, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: We will shoot foreign soldiers: Dili's mayor

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, September 9, 1999

We will shoot foreign soldiers: Dili's mayor

Photo: Young East Timorese refugees on their way to a camp after being evacuated from the strife-torn territory. Photo by AFP

By CRAIG SKEHAN in Kupang, West Timor

If foreign troops tried to enter East Timor they would be shot and violence would worsen unless the United Nations admitted the ballot on self-determination was unfair, the Mayor of Dili, Mr Mateus Haia, warned yesterday.

He made the comments as thousands of East Timorese, with their accounts of killings and destruction, continued to flow across the border into West Timor.

The mayor was speaking in Kupang, the capital of West Timor, after fleeing Dili by road and meeting East Timorese anti-independence leaders in the dining room of the Kristal Hotel.

Asked why the army and police were apparently not arresting the militia, the mayor said: "This is a guerilla war. They burn buildings in one place, and by the time the police or soldiers arrive they have run away and they are burning buildings somewhere else."

He accused the United Nations Mission to East Timor (UNAMET) of rigging the August 30 ballot, which resulted in an overwhelming majority supporting an end to Indonesian rule.

"If UNAMET don't go, it would be better if we just destroyed everything ... because they have destroyed everything so far," Mr Haia said. "If foreign troops come in, we will resist and shoot them.

"The United Nations are the new colonialists ... first we had the Portuguese and now we have the United Nations."

He claimed the number of people who voted against independence was higher than the officially stated 21 per cent of 451,000 registered voters.

"The ballot boxes were not opened in front of us," he said. "Everything will be normal in one to two weeks if UNAMET accepts responsibility for the mistakes it has made. As long as they do not take responsibility, there will never be peace. We don't trust the UN any more."

Mr Haia said the autonomy forces had 25,000 weapons from the Portuguese colonial era, which ended in 1975. But asked about militia members seen during recent weeks with new weapons, allegedly supplied by elements of the Indonesian military, Mr Haia said: "Falantil [independence guerillas] steal them from the army and then we steal them from Falantil."

One prominent autonomy leader, Mr Brasilio Araujo, and a fellow pro-Jakarta activist, Mr Domingos Soares, attended the Kupang meeting after a nine-hour overnight drive from Dili.

Asked if the road was dangerous, Mr Araujo said: "It is safe for me but I don't think it is safe for you."

Outside, a group of East Timorese militia wearing red and white head scarfs, which indicate support for Indonesian rule, rode around Kupang on the back of a truck, accompanied by a uniformed Indonesian soldier.

Earlier in the day, an Indonesian naval vessel arrived in Kupang's harbour with several hundred men, women and children from Dili. "Don't try and talk to them," said an Indonesian soldier at the wharf. "It is too dangerous, because they are angry and blame foreigners for what is happening."

More than 10,000 East Timorese are estimated to be in Kupang, with tens of thousands more camped along the West Timor side of the border. Indonesian Hercules aircraft ferried more into Kupang's airport.

An East Timorese Catholic priest from Dili, who arrived on one of the flights, said: "We are all refugees together and we are all afraid. We have heard that there is going to be a big attack on the town of Bacau tomorrow."

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