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Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK


World

Timor bishop blames generals

Bishop Belo: Fled the violence

The Bishop of Dili, Carlos Belo, has blamed the Indonesian authorities for the violence in East Timor.

Bishop Belo, who fled East Timor for Australia on Tuesday, told the BBC the violence was aimed at overturning the territory's historic vote for independence.

East Timor
About 200,000 people have already fled to neighbouring West Timor, and there are reports of widespread massacres of pro-independence Timorese.

The Roman Catholic Church said it had evidence that priests, nuns and other Catholics had been massacred by the pro-Indonesian militias.

Bishop Belo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there was no doubt that the Indonesian military were behind the violence.

'Generals behind violence'

He said: "It is orchestrated by Indonesian top generals in Jakarta in order to stop the historical event of the ballot."

The United Nations has begun pulling out the bulk of its remaining staff from its mission in Dili, where refugees have been sheltering since the referendum on independence.

Bishop Belo said he hoped the international community would not completely pull out of East Timor.

He said: "They can't give up because this is a democratic process. It is necessary that the United Nations understands its position to maintain order and to tell Indonesia to be a civilised country."

The bishop said he supported calls for an international war crimes tribunal to investigate the actions of Indonesian militia.

Bishop Belo is due to fly to Rome to brief Pope John Paul II on the situation in East Timor.



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Internet Links


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Government of Indonesia

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