DILI, East Timor, Dec 28 (Reuters)
- U.N. civilian police in East Timor have exhumed three bodies in dense scrub near the coastal town of Liquica and suspect a further 16 will be found in nearby gravesites, a spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.
U.N. civilian police chief for the Liquica district Steve Minhennett said the U.N. also believed it would find up to 200 bodies across the district, just west of the capital Dili.
Liquica was a stronghold of pro-Indonesia militias who waged a campaign of intimidation ahead of East Timor's overwhelming vote for independence on August 30 and went on a rampage of murder and arson afterwards.
"So far we've raised 69 bodies in the Liquica district and we have the potential for approximately 200," Minhennett said.
Investigators said the dead were victims of the post August 30 violence and not of the Liquica church massacre in early April.
"The forensic pathologist has told us that one of the victims had a broken cheekbone on both sides, has lost all his front teeth, had his skull factured, his jaw fractured and his left arm has been severed just above the wrist...these are pretty traumatic injuries," Minhennett said.
The U.N.-mandated multinational force charged with restoring peace after the militia rampage says just over 200 bodies have so far been uncovered across the territory but locals still believe thousands were killed.
- Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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