UNHCR Staff Evacuated from West Timor Town after Fatal Militia Attack
All staff working for the UN's refugee agency in the west Timor border town of Atambua are being evacuated to the eastern part of the island after a deadly attack by pro-Indonesia militias, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in Geneva Wednesday.
Two first helicopter sorties have taken some 54 people to Dili in east Timor from Atambua, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said.
Four people, all believed to be foreign UN staff, were earlier burned to death when hundreds of pro-Indonesian militia attacked a UNHCR office in Atambua.
It was the deadliest attack since UNHCR arrived in West Timor to help tens of thousands of East Timorese return home. They fled their homes amid violence following last year's vote in favor of east Timor's independence.
Among the people already evacuated from the town are three who were injured, one of them seriously, Redmond said.
But he added: "We still haven't had confirmation that the four people whose bodies were burned are UNHCR staff," Redmond said.
An agency representative, Joseph Yeo, quoting a local police report, had earlier said in Dili that three of the bodies pulled from the UNHCR building in Atambua were foreign staff working for the agency.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said preparations were underway to also evacuate about 80 aid workers gathered in Kupang, the capital of West Timor.
The aid workers, from different agencies include international and local staff - GENEVA (AFP)
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