Sat, 11 Sep 1999

Call for prayers for East Timor

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) called on Friday for the community of faith at large to pray for peace in the riot-torn East Timor.

The KWI's statement, signed by chairman Josef Suwatan and secretary-general J. Hadiwikarta, also invited people to attend on Sunday a national requiem mass.

"There is a systematic massacre and forced removal of people currently going on in East Timor. Hundreds of East Timorese were shot and killed, including at least four priests and four nuns.

"Thousands are being forced to leave the country in a sweeping effort to thin out the population of East Timor," the statement said.

The statement also said that places which became symbols of humanity and religiosity -- such as the International Red Cross, monasteries and even houses of bishops -- had also been attacked.

"KWI has, for several times, voiced demands to halt violence in the country and tried to create peace, but brutalities still continuously occurred in the country," it stated. (ind)