/** reg.easttimor: 2012.0 **/

** Topic: ABC radio transcript: War looming in parts of E.Timor **
** Written 8:12 AM Aug 25, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: ABC radio transcript: War looming in parts of E.Timor

Transcript Aust. Broadcasting Corp. PM News Programme Wednesday, August 25, 1999 6:48 P.M.

War looming in parts of East Timor

COMPERE: The drums of war are beating in East Timor, and regardless of the outcome of the independence vote, violence is looking more and more likely. There are just five days to go before the poll and the UN believes at least one district of East Timor is preparing for war. It's the area nearest the border with West Timor. Thousands of people have fled the towns of Maliana [phonetic], Balibo [phonetic] and Kaliko [phonetic], expecting widespread militia violence this weekend. It's in stark contrast to the buoyant optimism of pro-independence supporters at a rally in Dili today, as Geoff Thompson reports:

GEOFF THOMPSON: Thousands of people turned out in Dili today to join in singing the UNAMET song. Commissioned by the UN and written by East Timorese locals, the song has become a huge hit among independence supporters in East Timor. The song says quote: "Brothers and sisters from east to west, it's time for us to choose." But such open expression of support for the UN and pro-independence sentiment is not something which is enjoyed by the people of East Timor from east to west.

No UN songs are being sung on the streets of Maliana, a place where schools have closed and shop owners are shutting up as they brace themselves for a planned operation of militia violence expected to start on the last day of pro-autonomy campaigning this Friday.

Thousands of people have fled Maliana over the last few weeks. Two days ago 50 trucks full of household belongings were counted going across the West Timor border within two hours. Some pro-independence people who won't be leaving Maliana can be found up the hill at the CNRT office, an office which was attacked and ransacked by militia one week ago.

Standing in the ruined building, a CNRT spokesman named Cornelius says he believes 95 per cent of people in Maliana will vote for independence. One of their number has already been killed by militia, but Cornelius and his colleagues say they have no plans to leave Maliana or to retaliate. He says "We will never counter-attack. Our struggle is reaching an end and we will get what we want, which is independence."

The belief that widespread violence is about to break out in Maliana is backed up by the United Nations own analysis of the situation in this town. The UN has heard persistent reports that modern weapons will be distributed to the military-backed militia in Maliana this Friday and that they plan to use this last day of pro-autonomy campaigning as an opportunity to attack independence supporters.

The UN has been told that the people of Maliana and other towns in the Bobanara [phonetic] district see the militia attacks here one week ago as a practice run for the period after the vote when the Bobanara district will be sealed, the power cut and pro-autonomy families evacuated while independence people will be attacked by the military-controlled militia.

Maliana is a town on a knife edge, and one which the Indonesian police simply do not have the jurisdiction to control. Being controlled by the military, the local militias are simply untouchable by those police who are not themselves involved in the orchestration of militia attacks.

A leaked document obtained by the ABC and signed by pro-autonomy and local government figures in the Bobanara district freely discusses the use of murder and intimidation as tools to be used in their campaign strategy. Late yesterday the news came through to Maliana that the military commander for the Bobanara district had been recalled to Dili. That move has the United Nations hoping that it may not be too late to stop Maliana turning further towards bloodshed.

UNIDENTIFIED: Because they want to attack a place for operations [indistinct] to vote.

GEOFF THOMPSON: But it's not enough to stop Maliana's priest, Father Adriano Jemenez [phonetic], from expecting an attack. Father Jemenez believes only armed peace-keepers could prevent that eventuality, and armed peace-keepers aren't coming to Maliana any time soon.

COMPERE: Geoff Thompson in Dili.

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