East Timor resistance leader "Xanana" Gusmao warned that the Catholic Church in the troubled territory would be soon the target of violence carried out by Indonesian military-backed anti-independence militia.
    Catholic World News reports that he said through his lawyer Johnson Panjaitan: "It was only a matter of time when the Catholic Church would be further attacked as happened in Liquica" early last month. The people of East Timor, a predominantly Catholic region, have generally considered churches as a refuge, although there are occasionally acts of intimidation and violence even there.
    The worsening situation in the territory was furthered degraded, Gusmao said, by the recent founding of the political front of the pro-Indonesia groups, which plans "a sweeping vote" of the population to reject the scheduled autonomy or independence referendum on August 8.
    Mainly Muslim Indonesia invaded the former Portugese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Anti-independence groups have stepped up attacks on supporters of independence for the region.

9:59am 4/5/99 / Catholic World News


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