DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY December 21, 1999 vol. 10, no. 242
NEWS & VIEWS
PEACEKEEPERS UNEARTH MASSACRE SITES IN EAST TIMOR
DILI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - Australian peacekeepers have found the bodies of dozens of victims of massacres by pro-Indonesia militias, as they investigated two separate locations.
Navy divers recovered about a dozen bodies, many of them dismembered, from Lake Maubara on Monday. A Timorese human rights group estimates that 67 villagers were shot or hacked to death by Indonesian soldiers and militias at a church in the nearby town of Liquica on April 6 to intimidate voters. "We have been asked to search the lake to see if we can find anything else to connect the atrocity to the (Indonesian army) or the militia in the area at the time," said Lt. Commodore Jonathan Peacock, the Australian who commanded the naval detachment.
Meanwhile, peacekeepers retrieved 14 bodies from a mass grave in Oecussi, an enclave that is cut off from the rest of East Timor. Australian peacekeepers believe the site contains more than 50 victims.
Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world,
invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it
the following year in a move not recognized by the United
Nations. In August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed
referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy
within Indonesia or full independence. After the
pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia
militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on
a rampage, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of
thousands to flee the former Portuguese colony.
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NEWS & VIEWS