DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     September 21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 179

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        DILI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - The first of thousands of United Nations peacekeepers began arriving in East Timor on Monday, securing the airport and seaport and bringing in supplies as pro-Indonesian militias looked on.

        The deployment of soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, and Britain occurred smoothly, although many of the soldiers were taken aback at the amount of destruction that took place in two weeks of violence by pro-Indonesian militias.

        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 thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the former Portugese colony.

        Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili said on Sunday that he would return to his diocese, from which he had been forced to flee last week, after calm had returned and peacekeepers had deployed across the territory. Dozens of Catholic churches were burned and unknown number of priests and nuns were feared dead after anti-independence forces targeted them because of the Church's moral leadership in the island region.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 21, 1999       volume 10, no. 179


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