East Timor: death toll in yesterday's attack reaches 5, UN mission reports

East Timor: death toll in yesterday's attack reaches 5, UN mission reports

The death toll in yesterday's attack along the border between East and West Timor has reached five, with up to 40 people injured, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) confirmed today.

The incident occurred yesterday at around 9:30 a.m., seven kilometres southeast of Balibo in the vicinity of the tactical control line between East and West Timor, UNTAET said in a statement issued today in Dili. Between one and four hand grenades were thrown among a group of Timorese civilians at a market.

Injured civilians fled from the area into East and West Timor, and are being treated at military and civilian medical facilities in Balibo and Atambua.

"It is not known who threw the grenades or the motivation behind the attack," the UN mission said, adding that a large number of witnesses had been identified. "No peacekeeping force members were involved in the incident."

The Indonesian Military and the UN peacekeeping force, which deployed troops to the area after the incident to provide security, have been working cooperatively to establish control of the situation. The Indonesian army, UN Civilian Police and UN peacekeepers are investigating the incident.

In other news, the fourth formal round of talks on the Timor Sea between UNTAET/East Timor Transitional Administration (ETTA) and the Australian Government ended today after two days of negotiations in Dili.

"Great progress was made and a great number of issues were resolved," said Peter Galbraith, one of the lead negotiators for UNTAET/ETTA, and also the Cabinet Member for Political Affairs and the Timor Sea.

A future treaty governing the resources of the Timor Sea is expected to be signed by independence day, while another round of talks will take place "very soon" in Australia, UNTAET said.