More than 250 Portuguese refugees who fled from fighting between rival political groups in Portuguese Timer arrived in the north Australian port of Darwin on Thursday (14 August).
LV PAN Refugees aboard ship
GV & GV PAN Refugees on ship (3 shots)
MV Refugees off ship
GV ZOOM INTO SV Children being helped off ship (4 shots)
CU Australian speaking
TRANSCRIPT: CROWHURST: "Well we heard a few shots and that, you know, but there wasn't, well you only got, say, 13 and 14-year-old kids running round with rifles and things. You don't trust that much."
REPORTER: "Were they uniformed?"
CROWHURST: "No, they were just dressed in their normal dress, you know, like just a rag around them, you know."
REPORTER: "But who's got control there now?"
CROWHURST: "Well, the Portuguese army, they had a small area covered -- but the U.T.D. they had about 3,000 in the hills and a radio control network in Dili and a few other parts were held by the U.T.D."
REPORTER: "What is the situation there? Do you think it will explode?"
CROWHURST: "Well, it's not up to me to say."
Initials CL/2341 CL/2355
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: More than 250 Portuguese refugees who fled from fighting between rival political groups in Portuguese Timer arrived in the north Australian port of Darwin on Thursday (14 August).
The refugees -- most of them wives and children of Portuguese troops stationed in the island capital, Dili -- arrived from Timor in a 1200-ton Panamanian freighter, Macdili.
On Friday (15 August), they boarded a jumbo jet and headed for Portugal. But three families chose to remain in Darwin.
Also on the freighter among the 272 refugees were several Australian tourists who were forced to leave because of the fighting. One of these, Mr. Wayne Crowhurst, of Sydney, told newsmen that 13-year-old children were trooping around the pacific island with rifles. He said one of the two main political parties, the Timor Democratic Union (UTD) had been increasing its control there.
In Darwin on Sunday (17 August), Portugal's Chief of Political Affairs in the troubled colony said as many as 100 people had been killed in mountain fighting there.
Major Fransico Mota arrived in Australia by air from East Timor where fighting between rival groups has intensified in the past week. He said most of the deaths had been in the mountains. There had been some accidental deaths in Dili, he said.
"Dili has been in control of troops since the beginning and we are doing all we can to avoid fights", he said.
Major Mota was on his way to Lisbon to report to President Francisco da Costa Gomes on the situation.
This film includes an interview with Australian Wayne Crowhurst which is transcribed below.