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Subject: DN: Swiss journalists reach Alas
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 18:54:21 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Swiss journalists film three razed villages

Diario de Noticias 3 Dec ember 1998

They do not know how many died but they saw and filmed the signs of terror and destruction in East Timor: three villages razed and 150 refugees in a school. Two Swiss journalists, Pascal Herren and Olivier Drufaut, managed to reach Alas, where a massacre is said to have occurred 23 days ago. There has been scarce and contradictory information. SIC broadcast in last night's news bulletin a report with statements and pictures by the two reporters...

The pictures show homes, mostly made of bamboo and wood, totally razed and burnt, a burnt car where children now play, a torn shoe and burnt mattresses with twisted springs. According to the journalists, more that 30 houses were destroyed by the Indonesian forces...

The only source of information is Father Cornelius from the Alas parish. "We cannot talk about what happened here. We know a lot but we must keep it to ourselves. The marines have been here for some time for a military operation." SIC journalist Pedro Sousa Pereira, who interviewed the Swiss journalists in Geneva, quoted the priest's words to 'Diario de Noticias'. SIC said that showing a list of missing men, the priest told reporters: "In the meantime there have been many incidents, for example, a boy called Policarpo Antonio was kidnapped and is missing. I saw with my own eyes another boy, Lucas, with a bayonet stuck in his neck, coming out on the right hand side of his face." The SIC reporter told 'Diario de Noticias' that the Swiss journalists heard the priest say that the soldiers had cut off Lucas's legs and showed them to a girl...

Pascal Herren and Olivier Drufaut are convinced that there was a massacre in Alas. "It is easy to hide the bodies," they told SIC, to justify the fact that it is impossible to know how many died. They said that the Red Cross had not been able to confirm the number of dead because the Indonesians "did not show them the mass graves" .

There have been reports from the resistance in the last few days that say 42 were killed in the massacre and 200 are missing. An official source in Geneva told 'Diario de Noticias'that Alas was set alight and that 50 people were killed by a military command working without the knowledge of the Dili command.

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