ABC Home | Radio | Television | News | …More Subjects

ABC News Online
News Home      
Top Stories      
Just In              
World                
Australia/Local  
Business           
Politics              
Weather           
Sport                
Health               
Arts                   
Sci-Tech           
Environment     
Rural                 
Indigenous       
Opinion             
Offbeat             
Forums             
Services            
Help/Site Map   




Thousands of Dili residents yet to return home

Thousands of East Timorese are still too afraid to return home after fleeing the capital Dili during last month's violent riots that left at least five people dead.

Tens of thousands of people have fled Dili in recent weeks to escape violent street gangs that ran amok, torching buildings and burning cars.

Most have now returned but many are too scared - fearful that new violence could erupt at any time.

Thousands of people are still sheltering in churches and convents outside the city.

Many are camping in tents or under trees.

Church leaders are hoping most will return home next week, if Dili remains calm.

It is feared tomorrow's congress of the ruling Fretilin party, could spark new protests and plunge the city into more violence.

At one Catholic convent on the edge of town, Sister Guilhermina Marcal says 7,000 people are camping in tents and receiving care from the Red Cross.

"Because every day we have new families coming to us, even though I'm telling them there's no place," she said.

"But they said, 'Sister, we can stay under the trees or the garden. It doesn't matter the problem, we will stay here with you'."




ABC Top Stories


To ABC Online Home Page