/** reg.easttimor: 3197.0 **/

** Topic: SMH: Refugee plight compared to Nazi terror against Jews **
** Written 9:25 AM Sep 10, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: SMH: Refugee plight compared to Nazi terror against Jews

Sydney Morning Post September 11, 1999

Refugee plight compared to Nazi terror against Jews

By CRAIG SKEHAN in Kupang, West Timor, and MALCOLM BROWN

Humanitarian workers say the plight of thousands fleeing East Timor is reminiscent of the Nazi purge of the Jews, with survivors reporting summary executions and the removal of young men by militia units intercepting refugee trucks and buses.

Survivors have reportedmurders both in East Timor and in West Timor, where Indonesia's National Human Right Commission, Mr Marzuki Darusman, warned of "a state of lawlessness".

Mr Darusman is seeking urgent talks with West Timor's provincial authorities, police and the military as well as access to militia-controlled camps, following an attack on the officials of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, who have since fled West Timor.

Aid officials expect refugee numbers to swell to 100,000 in coming days. Some have arrived in the West Timor capital, Kupang, in vehicles, on evacuation flights and on ships, and tens of thousands more have made the dangerous journey into West Timor by road. Refugees now in West Timor have been mostly herded into camps which are tightly controlled by militia as well as Indonesian police and soldiers.

One distraught young mother said she witnessed the murder of two refugees on the back of a truck inside West Timor. She said she saw the two men tied up in a truck by militiamen on a road inside West Timor.

"Suddenly, in front of lots of people, a militia member drew a sword and slowly stabbed one of the people in the truck. Lots of blood began gushing, flooding the floor of the truck until it began to drip out," she said.

"The other man's hands and feet were tied like a pig and he was thrown like a bag of rice onto the asphalt then thrown into another truck."

Another man said he watched terrified at the West Timor port of Akapupu, near Atumbua at the northern end of the border, as militia used machetes to kill men alleged to be independence supporters. They were among East Timorese disembarking from a ship which had come from Dili.

"Other men had their hands tied and they were put on trucks and taken away," said one source, who is collecting accounts for presentation to the international community.

"Militia are checking all the people that are coming in at the port," the source said.

People arriving in Kupang who do not have a contact point, family or friends, are taken to camps on the edge of the town by Indonesian authorities.

Foreign media attempting to talk to refugees have been attacked by anti-independence militia. Underground support groups are being established among the refugees to try to get those targeted into safe houses.

"Many people who are pro-independence are pretending to be pro-autonomy," one source said. "It is like when Jews were trying to travel across occupied Europe."

"The big danger now is to refugees in West Timor because in many areas the militia are in control," another source said.

"Many West Timorese have joined the militia and they are still being directed by the Indonesian military."

Sources said that some refugees have resorted to wearing red and white head scarfs - Indonesia's national colours adopted by the anti-independence movement - to pass scrutiny.

There are also accounts of militia recognising people who worked for the independence movement, or had activist family members, being removed from vehicles and taken away to unknown fates.

In other cases refugees are running to Falintil positions, one source said.

"They will be a problem for them [Falintil] because they won't be able to move fast."

This is a repeat of what happened in East Timor's 1975 invasion by Indonesian troops.

At that time tens of thousands of refugees died of starvation and disease in remote mountainous and jungle areas.

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