Anti-independence militiamen occupied towns and villages across East Timor today, and police evacuated dozens of U.N. staff workers from one of the many areas that were under siege by the marauding gangs.
"They are burning everything. They don't respect anything. They are out of control. They are crazy," said one of the 54 U.N. workers who returned to Dili, the territorial capital, from the town of Maliana, southwest of the capital.
A new wave of violence also swept across parts of Dili, where votes were being counted in Monday's historic referendum on East Timor's future. Smoke poured from some shacks that had been set on fire near the U.N. compound in Dili's troubled Becora district.
At the United Nations in New York, the United States is rejecting calls for sending U.N. peacekeepers to end the bloodshed, saying Indonesia should live up to its responsibility to provide security.