Dili – Secessionist rebels ambushed a vehicle in East Timor, killing four members of a village defense force and two others in the deadliest rebel attack in more than a year, the military said Wednesday.
Three others were also wounded in Monday's ambush near Viqueque, 110 miles east of the East Timorese capital, said Lt. Col. Sukotjo, deputy chief of the Indonesian military in Dili.
Rebels have been fighting for independence since Indonesian troops invaded the former Portuguese colony in late 1975. The territory is the only predominantly Roman Catholic area in Indonesia, 90 percent of whose 200 million residents are Muslim.
Sukotjo said the group was driving from the town of Watulari to Viqueque, a district capital, when they were attacked outside Viqueque.
It was the second rebel raid in a week. On Friday, a soldier was killed and two were wounded near Darulete, a village 35 miles west of Dili.
Monday's attack was the deadliest in East Timor since January 1996, when rebels killed six people near Viqueque.
Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo of East Timor was a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign for a peaceful settlement to the 22-year-old conflict.