Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
No let-up in Timor violence
Lucky to be alive after militias attacked in western Maliana district
A wave of violence in East Timor is continuing ahead of Monday's vote on the territory's future, despite international calls for restraint.
Frightened residents seeking refuge in a Roman Catholic mission in Dili said armed bands had threatened to kill those who voted to sever ties with Jakarta.
At least seven people are known to have been killed since Friday, the last day of campaigning, and the start of a two-day "cooling off" period before voting.
A spokesman for the UN, David Wimhurst, welcomed as positive a reported meeting in the coastal city of Baucau between the militias and the armed wing of the Council for the Resistance of East Timor (CNRT), Falantil.
It also strengthened its police and military contingent and extended the mandate of the UN Mission in East Timor (Unamet) until the end of November.
The head of a European Union observer delegation, Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews, says he is deeply worried about what he calls the outrageous happenings in the territory.
Overnight militia attacks, which included the torching of part of a village, left a number of people dead. One pro-independence leader was killed and then beheaded.
But a pro-independence leader said at least six had died in Maliana.
There were also reports that the militias had shot dead a separatist activist in Dili on Saturday.
UN spokesman David Wimhurst said the attacks appeared to be "a last attempt by the militias to destablise the situation before we go to the vote on Monday".
Ballot under threat
A BBC correspondent in the territory says the UN is gambling that voting will run smoothly in enough areas to ensure the referendum reflects the wishes of the people.
The ballot is widely predicted to go in favour of independence which would end more than 23 years of Indonesian occupation in the former Portuguese colony.