Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, September 9, 1999 Published at 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Anger over Timor violence

Tens of thousands have fled over the border into West Timor

The UN Security Council says it is gravely concerned about the continuing violence in East Timor by opponents of independence.

More evidence has begun to emerge that the militias are carrying out systematic killings and expulsions.

East Timor
The Vatican has accused armed gangs of deliberately killing Roman Catholics; and refugees fleeing the violence report an organised policy of expulsions.

A 19-year-old Catholic student told the BBC that he and his friends he had been ordered to leave.

President Clinton: "We cannot have a reversal of course"
"They forced us to go out and said that they would burn our house, so we went out and then the militia took us to the police station," he said.

US President Bill Clinton on Thursday demanded that Jakarta allow the international community to provide security in East Timor.

He accused Indonesia of failing to stop "gross abuses."

The BBC's Stephen Sackur reports: "Clinton is a frustrated and confused president"
The US has suspended all military ties with Jakarta as a result of the current situation.

However Indonesia has repeatedly rejected offers of a multinational peacekeeping force to help restore law and order.

On Thursday it turned down the latest offer by the UN.

Indonesian President BJ Habibie told a delegation from the UN Security Council in Jakarta that "he would welcome any form of international assistance in East Timor except military".


The BBC's Matt Frei reports: "The army and the militia want to turn this into a country without citizens"
The Vatican also called for international intervention. It said on Thursday that the UN should send a peacekeeping force to stop what it called genocide.

The Roman Catholic church says it has evidence that priests, nuns and other Catholics have been massacred by the pro-Indonesian militias.

Vatican officials said they had confirmed that about 100 people were killed when a church was set on fire in the southern town of Suai earlier this week.

A spokesman for the Catholic aid agency, Caritas, said there appeared to be a systematic campaign against the church.

Refugee expulsion

Refugees fleeing the violence say the militia and Indonesian security forces are systematically expelling East Timorese.

BBC correspondent Humphrey Hawksley: "The cleansing of East Timor is a ruthless but ordered operation"
BBC Correspondent Humphrey Hawkesley who has just returned from the western half of Timor said people told him they had been forced to leave their homes against their will.

(Click here to see a map of the area)

Dozens of military and chartered aircraft carrying refugees are arriving in Kupang, the capital of West Timor.

People are also being forced to flee by land or put onto ships.

More than 60,000 people have been forced across the border to West Timor where they are being held in camps controlled by the Indonesian military.

UN compound

UN Security Council members said they were appalled by the growing humanitarian crisis and gravely concerned about the security situation.

[ image: Bishop Belo's house was attacked by militias]
Bishop Belo's house was attacked by militias
Their comments came despite a slight easing of pressure on the besieged UN compound in the capital Dili.

Water, electricity and communications have been restored and food supplies have arrived by plane from Australia.

But a UN spokesman said anti-independence militias fired over the heads of UN staff trying to reach a warehouse, despite the presence of an Indonesian military escort.

Some 100 UN staff have decided against being evacuated in order to stay with 2,000 refugees sheltering in the compound.

The head of the UN mission in Dili, Ian Martin, told the BBC that the UN would retain a "significant international staff," and that he would stay on himself.

About 162 East Timorese UN staff members are due to be evacuated to Darwin on Friday.

Martial law 'working'

[ image: In Jakarta, students demonstrated against the government]
In Jakarta, students demonstrated against the government
The Indonesian foreign minister, Ali Alatas, said the imposition of martial law two days ago was having an effect on restoring order in the territory.

However, he also said that what he called rogue elements within the security forces had been involved in the destruction.

President Habibie has agreed to let a UN delegation visit East Timor on Saturday.

The head of the UN delegation, Namibian UN ambassador Martin Andjaba, said after talks with Mr Habibie that the main purpose had been "to get Unamet back on the ground and carrying out its mandate".

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, is also travelling to the area.

She is going first to Darwin in Australia but hopes to visit both Dili and Jakarta.

Other top stories

[ image:  ]

(Click here to return)

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

09 Sep 99 | Americas
US military cuts Indonesian ties

09 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Is President Habibie in control?

09 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Timor militias 'targeting Catholics'

09 Sep 99 | The Economy
IMF increases pressure on Indonesia

09 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: UN's tattered credibility

08 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: The West's reluctance to act

08 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Intervene now - News Online readers

08 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Refugees flood into West Timor

08 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Picture gallery: Timor - the world protests

07 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: General Wiranto

01 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Shadowy militias of East Timor

Internet Links

East Timor Action Network

The BBC's Indonesian Service

Government of Indonesia


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

DiCaprio film trial begins

Millennium sect heads for the hills

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

From Business
Chinese imports boost US trade gap

ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

Malaysian candidates named

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

China warns US over Falun Gong

Thais hand back Cambodian antiques