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Subject: 745th Batallion In East Timor Deserts
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:01:40 +0930

745th Batallion In East Timor Deserts

LOS PALOS (MateBEAN, 7 December 98). All members of the 745th batallion have deserted since mid-November l998. This was recently discovered when MateBEAN undertook an intensive visit to a small town located 180 kilometers from the capital of East Timor, Dili.

The desertation of the 745th batallion, largely composed of indigenous East Timorese, is a way of rejection the assignment to attack the Falintil who continue to control the Alas District, Manufahi Regency, on the slopes of Mount Faluc Rihal. The members of the 745th batallion also demand immediate imporvement in the area of logistics and an increase in the pay they have received thus far. Persuasion from Major (Inf.) Kemal, Commander of the 745th batallion, and his deputy, came to a dead- end. In fact, some of the troops shot at and held him and his deputy hostage. Fortunately, the two batallion chiefs, known for their violent behavior in East Timor, were evacuated by helicopter.

The troops of the 745th batallion threatened to shoot whosoever approaches their base in Los Palos. They demand that the Armed Forces Chief, General Wiranto and his staff come to negotiate with them. "Aside from these people, we will shoot anyone who tries to come near our headquarters," said a soldier as imitated by the MateBEAN source.

The 745th batallion is now led by an MP man with the rank of corporal. "We call him Pak Alex. He is from Kupang. We appointed him our leader because he deserves our respect," said a SiaR source, who had also deserted.

Although they seem frustrated and drink alcohol in front of their headquarters, civilians living around the headquarters say they are not disturbed by them. "They are our young man. They too understand that we are not their enemies," said a local resident who helped MateBEAN to penetrate the road blocks thrown up by some of the batallion troops.***

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