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Associated Press

December 20, 2000

UN Investigator Says East Timor Death Toll May Be 2,000


CANBERRA (AP)--Pro-Jakarta militias may have killed up to 2,000 people in violence following East Timor's vote for independence from Indonesia, a United Nations investigator said Thursday.

"They're still finding people," James Dunn, a member of a U.N. team investigating militia killings, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"My investigation suggests quite a few people were killed in the mountains and their bodies were probably taken away by relatives and buried privately and they've said nothing about them because they didn't want them disturbed."

Dunn also said he has evidence that some bodies had been dumped at sea.

Authorities previously estimated about 1,000 people were killed by pro-Jakarta militias backed by the Indonesian army after the Aug. 30, 1999, independence referendum.

"But my investigations suggest that we don't really know and that in fact the figure could be twice that number. A lot of the killings outside the capital haven't been thoroughly investigated."

Dunn, a former Australian diplomat who served in the East Timorese capital, Dili, said more evidence would come to hand when refugees held in West Timor camps returned.


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