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Four Timorese found dead in latest violence

Reuters - January 14, 1998

Dili – Four East Timorese have been found dead days after they were abducted from their village by a group of unidentified armed men, a local official said.

The four victims from Coilima village, about 60 km west of the territory's capital Dili, were among a group of eight people seized on January 3, Francisco Martins Dias, a local district chief, said.

Dias said the bodies were found floating in a river by villagers yesterday. Two of the victims appeared to have died of gunshot wounds and the other two of injuries caused by sharp objects.

Villagers said one of the other four abducted men had returned safely but the other three were still missing.

They also said they believed the armed group had links with the military, which operates a number of covert counter-insurgency groups against rebels in the former Portuguese colony.

The Indonesian military has recruited a number of local militia groups as part of attempts to control a small band of guerrillas still resisting Indonesian rule more than 22 years after Jakarta invaded East Timor.

East Timor police chief Colonel Atok Rismanto declined to comment on the case, saying he was still waiting for a full report.

The United Nations does not recognise Indonesia's rule over East Timor and still regards Portugal as the administering authority.

In a separate incident, reports over the weekend said Indonesian troops shot dead four rebels in the nearby Ermera regency last Friday.