|East Timor||PEACE FORCE 'A WEEK TO LATE': JESUIT|
A Jesuit who was in Dili has said that if an international peace force goes now, it will go a week too late. "If a small, independent, international force had been there last Saturday, it would have saved an enormous number of lives," he said.
The Jesuit Refugee Service reports that pockets of displaced people remain scattered around Dili, which is now almost empty.
In a report issued by its Rome international office, the agency said: "The military walk the streets shooting in the air, and truckloads of loot are going out of the city. Loot is stored in military compounds, awaiting shipment out. A young man in Dili claimed that there are many non-East Timorese gangs looting the city with the Timorese and the military. Some of the looters, he said, are from Java, and many from West Timor. The looting operation is enormous, well organised, and systematic, he said.
"'There is no more shooting at people, but a huge haze hangs over the city,' the young man said. Many of the men who fled Dili came back at night to fetch the women and girls out of the city as they fear a wave of rapes. The priests and nuns are left caring for young children.
"The road between Atambua, West Timor, and Dili is open, and people may travel relatively unmolested. A reason for this may be that the militias are busy counting their loot and shipping it out of East Timor."
JRS 11:33am 14/9/99