DATE=8/30/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=EAST TIMOR / ANNIVERSARY (L) NUMBER=2-265963 BYLINE=PATRICIA NUNAN DATELINE=JAKARTA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Thousands of East Timorese are marking the first anniversary of the territory's vote for independence from Indonesia, by remembering the people who died in years of fighting there. As Patricia Nunan reports from Jakarta, the threat of attack by anti-independence militia groups remains a concern. TEXT: In an emotional mass, East Timor's spiritual leader and Nobel peace laureate, Bishop Carlos Belo, asked the thousands of people packing Dili's main cathedral to pray for those who died for East Timor's freedom. He also asked them to forgive East Timor's enemies -- including the leaders of anti-independence militias and the Indonesian generals believed to be supporting them. East Timorese leaders - including the man many believe will be the first president of the independent nation, Xanana Gusmao - are giving speeches to mark the anniversary. It was one year ago that the overwhelming majority of East Timorese voted to break free of 24 years of Indonesian rule - which began when Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975. Celebrations however were short-lived. Anti- independence militia groups reacted by launching a murderous campaign of terror across East Timor -- killing hundreds of people. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes for the safety of the jungle or over the border in West Timor. With most of its towns and villages destroyed, East Timor was left in ruins. International peacekeepers restored calm to the territory -- but the threat of attacks by militia groups remains. On Tuesday, the head of the U-N mission in East Timor, Sergio de Mello, warned that if peacekeepers encounter any militiamen refusing to surrender, "drastic action" would be taken against them. That warning coincided with the latest in a series of clashes near the border with West Timor Peacekeepers exchanged fire with militia, but no injuries were reported. Two peacekeepers and several militiamen have died in recent weeks in confrontations. Security has been beefed up for the anniversary celebrations. U-N checkpoints line roads leading into the capital, and extra peacekeepers have been sent to areas where militia groups are believed to be hiding. Meanwhile, Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman has promised in the next day or so to release the official list of suspects in the investigation of the Indonesian military's role in militia violence. Analysts say some of the Armed Forces' top brass -- including the former minister of defense, General Wiranto -- are likely be named. (signed) NEB/HK/PN/GC/JO 30-Aug-2000 01:13 AM LOC (30-Aug-2000 0513 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

Join the mailing list