Magazine article UN Chronicle

East Timor

Magazine article UN Chronicle

East Timor

Article excerpt

Militia Attacks on the Rise

Briefing the Security Council on 29 September, the head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said the Government of Indonesia was responsible for dealing with violent militia in West Timor. Sergio Vieira de Mello said that "only when this problem has been effectively addressed" would UNTAET be able to resolve the plight of the remaining East Timorese refugees. He said he remained "sceptical" that Indonesia's attempts to "persuade" the militias to surrender their weapons would be effective, and suggested a coordinated strategy to "hunt down and break up the militias and bring their leaders to justice".

Mr. Vieira de Mello charged that Indonesian authorities still had no suspects in the killings of three aid workers of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "There could hardly be a more eloquent demonstration of Indonesia's current inability--or refusal--to deal effectively with the problem. This is impunity running rampant," he said. The aid workers--Samson Aregahegn of Ethiopia, Carlos Caceres of the United States and Pero Simundza of Croatia--were slain when a mob overran the UN compound in Atambua on 6 September. After the attack, all humanitarian operations in West Timor were suspended.

Condemning the attacks in West Timor, the Security Council on 8 September unanimously adopted a resolution insisting that Indonesia take "immediate additional steps" to disarm and disband the militias, restore law and order, ensure the safety of refugees and humanitarian workers, and prevent incursions into East Tumor. …

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