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Email details UN man's last hours

Soon after, Carlos Caceres was hacked to death by Timorese militia

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The United Nations has released the final email sent by one of its three workers killed yesterday in West Timor just hours before militiamen hacked them to death and set fire to their bodies, the BBC reported today.

The email was read out in full at a meeting of the UN Security Council. 'Harrowing' is one word for it.

"We sit here like bait, unarmed," Carlos Caceres wrote to a friend. "The militias are on the way, and I am sure they will do their best to demolish this office... These guys act without thinking and can kill a human being as easily (and painlessly) as I kill mosquitoes in my room."

The attack was sparked by the burial of a militia leader that day. In the email, Carlos referred to the dead man as "the head of one of the most notorious and criminal militia groups of East Timor".

"I was in the office when the news came out that a wave of violence would soon pound Atambua... we sent most of the staff home, rushing to safety. I just heard someone on the radio saying that they are praying for us. You should see this office... plywood on the windows, staff peering out through the openings in the curtains hastily installed a few minutes ago. We are waiting for the enemy."

Caceres ended the email talking of his three-week trip out of the area. "I just hope I will be able to leave tomorrow," he said.

The attack was roundly condemned by a large number of world leaders, all currently convened in New York for the Millennium Summit. The Indonesian president was deeply embarrassed and promptly ordered two battalions of troops to the region. ®

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