|East Timor||WEST TIMOR 'ALMOST LIKE DILI'|
Bishop Anton Pain Ratu of Atambua in West Timor has said the situation of lawlessness and intimidation in his diocese is 'almost like Dili'.
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which has set up a field service in Kupang, reports an estimated 100,000 displaced people are thought to be dispersed throughout West Timor, many in the hills and forests, and that they are urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Refugees seem to be no better off in West Timor than in their homeland, as army-backed anti-independence militias have embarked on a reign of terror there too, controlling the roughly 84,000 people in refugee camps.
JRS says the bishop has reported that the security situation was getting worse daily, with no action being taken, although he had implored the Governor of Kupang and authorities in Dili to disarm the militias.
Bishop Ratu said several militia groups were operating amongst the refugee population in Atambua, but the anti-independence Aitarak militia group (whose members sacked Dili) was the most prominent.
He said the refugees have hardly any facilities - 'they are sitting around under the trees' were his exact words - and no food. There is no international presence in Atambua, the bishop said.
JRS 11:33am 14/9/99