|East Timor||BISHOP BELO ESCAPES TIMOR, ASKS WORLD TO ACT|
East Timorese spiritual leader Bishop Carlos Belo, who fled to safety in Darwin on Tuesday, made an emotional appeal to the world to protect his people.
The bishop arrived to a joyous welcome from the East Timorese community in the northern city of Darwin on an Australian air force cargo plane after pro-Jakarta militia forced him from his Dili residence where 4000 people had taken refuge.
Referring to the East Timorese he had left behind, he told reporters: ``They are very sad, they feel they are unable to fight against all the waves of violence.
``And they expect that the international community should act urgently, immediately, to protect their people.''
Applause rang out as Belo, wearing grey trousers, an open-necked shirt and a Timorese-style blue patterned jacket, greeted the wellwishers and warmly hugged two relatives.
Local church leaders said the bishop's flight did not mean that all hope for a free East Timor now had to be abandoned.
``Bishop Belo is our spiritual leader, therefore having him alive is a sign of hope that something good is coming,'' Sister Aurora Pires told Reuters.
Denise Dauphinais, regional coordinator of the UN mission UNAMET, said he had asked to be evacuated from Baucau, where the UN compound came under a heavy militia attack on Tuesday.
He continued: ``This way, they (the military) want to make people believe that what is happening is a conflict among Timorese from which they are totally extraneous. Now, more than ever, we need an international peace force here on the territory.''
Reuters 11:09am 9/9/99