East Timor: Eve of Independence
A pro-independence East Timorese with homemade spear gun. April 1999.
These civilians, like many others, had armed themselves against pro-Indonesian militias, who had been violently intimidating the local population that wanted independence.
On this Easter Monday morning several truckloads of independence supporters descended on the town of Liquica, 35kms. west of the capital Dili, with the intention of confronting one of the Indonesian backed militia groups.
By late afternoon approximately 15 of these armed villagers had been killed and many more injured (the exact figure was never confirmed). The sound of gunfire echoed around the town and surrounding area throughout the day, implying that the Indonesian military and police were also involved.
This preceded the massacre, the following day, at the priest’s house next to the Catholic Church in Liquica, when militia forces supported by Indonesia, along with police and soldiers, attacked local people who had taken refuge there, killing up to a 100, although local sources estimate a much higher figure.
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