Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili, East Timor, warned on Thursday that continued violence between pro- and anti-independence forces gives legitimacy to calls by rebel leaders for increased military action against the Indonesian military.
    Catholic World News reports that the Nobel peace prize winner said attacks on churches and innocent villagers raise tensions and cause more people to pick up weapons. In an interview with Australian radio, Bishop Belo said: "These events in East Timor -- the killings of the people, the attacks to the civilian population -- these things, they give only legitimacy to Xanana's statement," referring to jailed rebel leader "Xanana" Gusmao.
    On Wednesday, anti-independence gangs fired automatic weapons and threw hand grenades into a Catholic church in Liquisa, where 2,000 people had been sheltering, killing 25 people. Indonesia has warned the call to arms threatens its plan to let East Timor choose between independence or autonomy Analysts have said Gusmao's call to arms was an attempt to force the United Nations to commit a significant peacekeeping force to East Timor.

9/04/99 9:35:07 / Catholic World News


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