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DATE=9/23/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=EAST TIMOR / THURSDAY (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-254239 BYLINE=PATRICIA NUNAN DATELINE=DILI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The commander of the international peacekeeping force in East Timor says the deployment of troops to the territory has been accelerated. As Patricia Nunan reports from the East Timorese capital, Dili the commander made his comments just three days after the Australian-led peacekeeping force landed in the capital to restore order after weeks of violence by pro-Indonesia militia groups. TEXT: Australian Major-General Peter Cosgrove says he remains unsatisfied with the security situation in the East Timorese capital, where he says there are areas that the international peacekeeping force is unable to exert its influence. There are three thousand peacekeepers on the ground in East Timor. But General Cosgrove says he wants more deployed as soon as possible. //COSGROVE ACT// We are bringing in the troops we have planned to bring in, and we are bringing them in at a slightly accelerated rate. We are lucky that the international community is rallying around and I cannot go into details because of some of the governments involved. But I have been most heartened by the response by a number of regional countries who are providing troops to this situation. //END ACT// Up to eight thousand peacekeepers will be deployed in East Timor. Shots were fired in Dili on Thursday, with some witnesses alleging that snipers were shooting at Australian soldiers. In another incident, residents say the Indonesian military fired shots at refugees looting relief food supplies. Details of both incidents remain unclear, but the Australian defense forces say there have been no injuries. The Australian-led multinational peacekeeping force was launched in East Timor on Monday in order to bring stability to the territory after armed militia groups virtually took over. The militias, who are opposed to independence for East Timor, began their rampage after the United Nations announced the majority of East Timorese voted against continued Indonesian rule of the territory in a special referendum. Thousands of people are feared dead while hundreds of thousands have been forced to leave their homes. The violence forced the United Nations to withdraw most of its personnel from East Timor until the international troops can restore order. Meanwhile, members of the Indonesian military can be seen packing their belongings in order to withdraw from the capital. General Cosgrove says the Indonesian military -- or T-N-I -- now plans to scale back its forces from 11 to six battalions in East Timor, and he welcomes the move. //COSGROVE ACT// Some of the elements being withdrawn are elements whose discipline is sorely tested by the political situation on the basis that some of the battalions have been locally recruited. And I commend the sensible decision of ensuring the test of discipline of those troops is reduced by their being re-deployed out. //END ACT// The United Nations Human Rights Commission says elements of the Indonesian military may be held responsible for crimes against humanity in East Timor, if allegations they orchestrated the militia violence can be proven. (signed) NEB/PN/GC/FC 23-Sep-1999 05:50 AM LOC (23-Sep-1999 0950 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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