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EAST TIMOR SPECIAL - Nightmare - Night of Mayhem - Intimidation - Ethnic Cleansing - Xanana Gusmao - Military Preparations - East Timor And APEC - Military Ties - Commentary - Students Keep Hope Alive

NIGHTMARE: Nightmare of ethnic cleansing in East Timor. Australian and NZ forces stand ready to intervene in East Timor tonight. Reports today of people being rounded up and taken away. Martial law has been declared in East Timor. UN Patience is wearing thin. Australian troops are likely to lead any intervention force.

NIGHT OF MAYHEM: Call for international action comes as another night of mayhem in East Timor. Nightmare scene at UN compound in Dili. This compound offers one of the only chances at sanctuary.. Pictures of people climbing over razor-wire fences in order to escape machetes and guns on the outside. Injuries terrible. UN teams are unarmed. Last journalists in East Timor cower at the gun-fire outside their hotel before being evacuated to the UN compound.

INTIMIDATION: The house of the sister of Jose Ramos Horta was raided this morning and she was threatened. According to a freelance journalist a man in a naval uniform, or possibly in disguise, broke into the house and threatened her.

ETHNIC CLEANSING: NZ UN worker in Dili says ethnic cleansing is underway with some entire towns being cleared, rounded up and trucked away. A humanitarian crisis is unfolding here says Andrew Ladley.

XANANA GUSMAO. Independence leader Xanana Gusmao was released in Jakarta hours after martial law is declared. He will not be going to East Timor immediately and has been invited to the US and Australia.



MILITARY PREPARATIONS: Australian and NZ troops could soon be on their way to East Timor. 350 NZ personnel are on 14 days notice to go. But Australia wants US and UN support before they take action. The UN is giving Indonesia 48 hours to restore order in East Timor. PM Howard says they are ready. Madeleine Albright says the onus is on Indonesia.

EAST TIMOR AND APEC: Opposition MPs say NZ should be doing more and East Timor should be on the APEC agenda. Don McKinnon's strongest condemnation so far is not strong enough for the Allance and Labour. The PM is determined to keep APEC on track and to not scare away Indonesia from the summit. PM says NZ troops will only be committed to East Timor with a UN mandate and an Indonesian invitation. NZ is not yet talking about economic sanctions.

MILITARY TIES: Six Indonesian military officers on training exchanges in NZ at present. The opposition wants them

COMMENTARY: Linda Clark live: We know that the PM today spoke to President Habibe. We also know that the ambassador in Jakarta met with President Habibe. All eyes are now on Auckland and the arrival of foreign ministers. Indonesia has given an assurance that an Indonesian representative will attend a meeting tomorrow in Auckland. However this meeting will not be formal APEC business. There are suggestions that the PM may give a report to APEC leaders at a scene-setting meeting at the beginning of the summit. The NZ troops are now on 14 days notice - there has been confusion this afternoon on this. Two Hercules are on 24 hour standby. A small group of ministers are meeting regularly to assess our commitment and it can be sped up.

EVACUATION: Indonesia says tonight it is sending its navy and airforce to East Timor to assist with refugee evacuations.

STUDENTS KEEP HOPE ALIVE: East Timorese living in NZ keep alive their hopes for peace. News that troops are on standby is greeted with cautious optimism. "I know the chance is small but I really hope," says one student. Indonesians in NZ say Indonesians are friendly and soft-hearted.

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