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Refugees: "72 hours is too long, we are dying now"

National Council for Timorese Resistance

CNRT: Cry from the East Timor bush - 72 hours is too long...we are dying now.

"Help us, please! 72 hours is too long...we are dying now."

Those were the words Domingos De Oliveira heard today when an independence activist emerged from his hideout in the bush and slipped into Dili to make a hurried telephone call through the barely functioning telephone network.

The activist, who cannot be named for security reasons, told how he had dodged soldiers who were still roaming Dili, killing, looting and burning.

He called on the United Nations to get troops into East Timor with all speed. "The Indonesian soldiers will keep killing us, looting our homes, and burning them down, until the United Nations troops come and take control," he said.

His estimate was that the rate of killing was the same as it has been for days -- there was no let-up.

The activist also said that he had passed the Dare refugee camp on the way into Dili -- and confirmed that the Indonesian military had for an unknown reason halted the attack they were beginning yesterday. They were still surrounding the camp in which 30,000 or more sick and starving refugees are huddled, without food, medicine or adequate shelter.

The caller asked for urgent supplies of food, medicine, bedding and shelter materials to be air dropped, if that was the only way, to the main refugee areas at Dare, Wemori, Laga, Ermera and Viqueque.

"People are dying now. If they have to wait another day for help, many more will die," he said. He added that he hoped he could dodge the Indonesian military thugs still killing and looting, and slip back into the safety of the bush.

IN SYDNEY:

The seven hunger strikers led by Rosa Maria Carrascalão, outside the United Nations Information Office in York Street, Sydney, plan to maintain their strike and their nightly masses for the innocent people of East Timor, until humanitarian aid starts to be delivered to the people of East Timor.

"We are asking everyone to please remember these suffering people. Phone your local member of Parliament to demand urgent action to help these people. They are innocent victims of a murderous military dictatorship. Regardless of your religion, please say a prayer for them and light a candle to help keep the flame of faith and life alive in East Timor."

ENDS

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