/** reg.easttimor: 2652.0 **/

** Topic: ABC: Indonesian police accused of targeting UN convoy **
** Written 6:01 AM Sep 5, 1999 by bfmedia@pop.peg.apc.org in cdp:reg.easttimor **
From: bfmedia@pop.peg.apc.org (BUSHFIRE MEDIA)
Subject: ABC: Indonesian police accused of targeting UN convoy


Indonesian police accused of targeting UN convoy

Indonesian military and police have both been accused of opening fire on an unarmed United Nations convoy in East Timor which contained four Australians.

An American UN civilian police officer had to be airlifted to Darwin after being shot in the stomach. [NOTE: An earlier AAP report today stated diplomatic and other sources in Dili said the American had bee shot by an Indonesian security officer.] Witnesses to yesterday's attack on the UN's Liquica base west of Dili are now telling how the protectors of the unarmed staff, Indonesia's police, joined the attackers, militia and Indonesia's military, opening fire with automatic weapons on the personnel.

A high level Indonesian Government delegation, including defence chief General Wiranto, is currently in Dili pledging to restore order.

Militia continue violent attacks While police have failed to help two American aid workers who have been attacked by pro-Jakarta militia at Dili's warf, while trying to get their local staff on boats to escape East Timor today.

The aid workers from the Carter Centre group appealed to nearby Indonesian military for help, but say they were laughed at and one police vehicle is understood to have reversed at high speed when asked for help.

The aid workers managed to get to their cars but were chased by militia down the road, and one vehicle fired on.

When the other vehicle reached the police headquarters after driving through a military road block militias were allowed to enter, surrounding the worker's car taunting and jeering her.

Both aid workers are unharmed but the fate of the East Timorese staff is unknown.

And a group of militia entered the school compound immediately adjacent to the United Nations headquarters late this afternoon.

There has also been repeated rounds of automatic and semi-automatic gunfire around the headquarters and shots have been fired over the compound itself.

About 20 members of Dili's Aitarak militia are now only 700 metres from the main gate of the UN headquarters and gunfire continues to heard on three sides of the compound.

But 1,000 East Timorese have taken refuge in an old school next door where militia entered late this afternoon sending UN security staff into a state of alert.

Elsewhere in the city there are at least one fire in the vicinity of Pakora, a pro-independence area and there are unconfirmed reports that 11 are dead after last night's violence.

Indonesian minister blames UN Indonesia's Foreign Minister Ali Alitas is believed to have blamed the violence in East Timor on the United Nation's failure to investigate complaints about voting irregularities in the poll.

Foreign minister Ali Alitas, armed forces Chief General Wiranto and security minister Faisal Tanjung were among a delegation of high ranking minister who flew to Dili this morning. They held meetings at the airport, not daring to venture any further.

The ABC has been told Mr Alitas attributed the violence in Dili to the UN mission's failure to investigate complaints lodged by pro-Jakarta sympathisers.

Three UN Electoral Commission members departed with the visiting ministerial delegation.

A joint press conference with Mr Alitas and the UN is expected to be called tomorrow.

Militia control Dili The pro-Jakarta militia in East Timor have taken control of the streets of the capital, Dili, with apparent Indonesian military backing.

An exodus of people leaving the city with their possessions is continuing after a night of gunfire.

Free movement in Dili is now virtually impossible, with roaming armed militia gangs on the streets.

There are armed soldiers and police at most major intersections, but they are making no attempt to disarm the militias.

After a night in which there was constant gunfire and houses set ablaze, panic is widespread.

Evacuation A United Nations Hercules, carrying 60 staff, has arrived in Darwin. Four hundred staff have now flown out of the territory in the last three days.

The UN says it is minimising the number of personnel it has in East Timor, though many will stay in Darwin hoping to return if the violence eases.

Truckloads of people with their possessions are arriving at Dili's port trying to leave.

By road there are now 14 militia checkpoints between Dili and the western border, 150 kilometres away.

About 150 foreign journalists and media crews are leaving Dili, many complaining they are simply unable to do their job reporting on the ongoing crisis without fearing for their own lives.

Peacekeeping force The Federal Government says Indonesia is resisting the deployment of an armed peacekeeping force.

Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York has been seeking international support for a coalition of countries to send armed troops to restore peace in the troubled province.

Approval is first required from the UN Security Council and Indonesia.

There is still no agreement from Indonesia or the United Nations Security Council about sending in troops but the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has told Channel 10 there will be a peacekeeping operation in East Timor "no matter what".

East Timorese independence leader, Jose Ramos Horta, has warned that thousands of lives could be lost, if the UN does not act quickly to prevent the ongoing violence.

"We are facing an imminent extraordinary human catastrophe right under the eyes of the United Nations Security Council and they are not acting promptly to stop the killings," he said.

Xanana Gusmao East Timorese resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao, may be returned to East Timor as early as the middle of this week - with unarmed United Nations observers left to ensure his security as militia groups continue to terrorise the capital, Dili.

Indonesia's State Secretary has announced a new timetable for the release of Indonesia's one-time most wanted criminal.

Minister Muladi told journalists after meeting with President BJ Habibie, Mr Gusmao would be released as soon as possible.

The Minister says Mr Gusmao will then be flown to Dili on Wednesday to be handed over to the United Nations who he expects to work towards ensuring his safety.

American Ambassador J Stapleton Roy who met with both Minister Muladi and President BJ Habibie confirmed discussion about the release of Mr Gusmao had taken place, but said no date had been fixed for his release.

abc online 1999