Following years of violence after the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975, the resignation of Indonesian President Hajji Suharto (1921-2008) triggered an independence referendum in 1999. The vote for freedom was followed by violence as pro-integration East Timorese militia (with the support of parts of the Indonesian military) campaigned against the separation. Order was restored after an Australian-led peacekeeping mission had been sent, after which the administration of East Timor was taken over by the United Nations. In 1999, the United Nations compound was under siege, with over 1,500 people held inside by armed forces. Marie Colvin was one of only three female journalists who stayed to the end, and her reports to the Sunday Times (along with other broadcast media) that brought the siege to international attention are credited with saving the lives of those held there.
Fawthrop, Tom. “East Timor braves poll bloodbath.” Sunday Times, 29 Aug. 1999
Colvin, Marie, et al. “Terror follows Timor freedom vote.” Sunday Times, 5 Sept. 1999
“Inside the East Timor siege camp.” Sunday Times, 12 Sept. 1999
Colvin, Merie. “A friend lost in the horror of East Timor.” Sunday Times, 26 Sept. 1999