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Three people killed during refugee visit on East/West Timor border, UN says

Three people killed during refugee visit on East/West Timor border, UN says

Three civilians were killed today during an explosion in Indonesia's West Timor province, near the border with East Timor, according to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

The people were killed "apparently as refugees from the West met with family members from the East," UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said today in New York.

Three victims of the blast later sought help for fragmentation injuries at the UN military hospital in the East Timor border town of Balibo. They reported that an estimated 25 people were injured in the incident.

"UN peacekeepers of course have no access to West Timor and this is all the information that we have at this time," Mr. Eckhard said.

According to UNTAET, no members of the UN peacekeeping force were involved in the incident, which occurred at 11:14 in the morning (local time) seven kilometres southeast of Balibo near the border between East and West Timor.

The UN peacekeeping force, the Indonesian Military Forces (TNI) and UN Civilian Police are investigating the incident.

Meanwhile 70 UN Volunteers arrived in Dili over the weekend to work as District Electoral Officers with the Independent Electoral Commission, completing a group of 122 volunteers - 76 men and 46 women - from 45 countries who had begun arriving in East Timor last week, UNTAET officials said today.

The District Electoral Officers, who have a minimum of three years practical experience in development fieldwork, attended a five-day briefing in Darwin last week on principles of election administration, the current electoral regulation and the plan for the 30 August elections.

The electoral officers have been assigned to a district office awaiting deployment to one of the 65 sub-districts, where they will be responsible for the preparation, organization, and conduct of polling at the local level, disseminating information to voters, and recruiting and training local polling staff.