|EAST TIMOR: HAZARDOUS DUTY|
September 2, 1999
Two United Nations local staff are killed as pro-Indonesia militias continue their attacks in the streets of East Timor.
-- Posted 3:30 PM ET
Two more local United Nations staffers were killed in East Timor, just as the U.N. urged Indonesian police to provide better protection for its staff in the region.
A U.N. spokesman confirmed that the two men were killed Sept. 2 in Malinana, a town 80 miles west of the capital of Dili. The men were two of the nearly 4,000 East Timorese nationals who assisted in the U.N.-backed referendum on whether the region should remain a part of Indonesia or declare independence.
|Protecting the U.N.|
killings come after another violent uprising Sept. 1 outside the U.N.
compound in Dili. During the skirmish, militiamen wielded automatic
weapons and machetes against pro-independence supporters and foreign
journalists while outnumbered Indonesian police watched from inside
the compound. At least three people are reported to have died.
"We have no possibility of protecting either ourselves - our international
staff, our local staff - or anybody else, other than the pressure we
can put upon the Indonesian authorities to fulfill their responsibilities,"
Ian Martin, head of the U.N. mission in East Timor, said.
Though the U.N. believes the violence in Dili was not aimed at the compound,
Martin said the unarmed U.N. staff would be unable to fend off a militia
attack without Indonesian support.
"It is clear that we would not be in a position to have prevented
the worst violence if the mob had indeed attempted to attack the compound
itself," he said.
The recent deaths bring the number of U.N. staffers killed since the referendum Aug. 30 to four. One volunteer was killed outside a polling center in the village of Atsabe after the center closed. Two other staffers were reported missing in Atsabe; the U.N. later confirmed one of the two had been killed, the other injured.
|The possibility of peacekeepers|
Indonesian government said it might allow a U.N. peacekeeping force into
East Timor should the violence continue. This is a departure from Indonesia's
earlier refusal to allow any international security presence in the
"The possibility is not closed for the government to allow the
United Nations to deploy a U.N. peacekeeping force in East Timor, but
this matter has not been discussed by the government," Indonesian
State Secretary Muladi said at a press conference. "If the situation
in East Timor worsens, I think the possibility for that would be worth
"The actions by the Indonesian police and military have been unacceptable,"
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth said on Australian Broadcasting
Other governments have also criticized the Indonesian response to the
militia attacks. Threatened sanctions against the Indonesian government
have grown to include the withdrawal of much-needed monetary support
if the situation in East Timor is not brought under control.
Meanwhile, thousands of East Timorese have reportedly fled Dili to
The escalating violence continues to fuel worries of violence after the vote results are released Sept. 7. Muladi said that the Indonesian government some 200,000 East Timorese, more than one quarter of the population, to flee the area if voters opt for independence.