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Subject: Calamity befalls the people of Maliana
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 14:41:36 GMT

Report by Yayasan HAK, Dili

Intimidation, terror and torture have befallen the people of Maliana.

Cailaco, 10am 27-29 November 1998, one hour after two members of the armed forces were shot dead by an unidentified group of armed men, other members of the security forces launched a joint operation to hunt down the killers. The operation was conducted by a unit composed of troops from the local koramil, Halilintar para-militaries, combat troops and the SGI (intelligence). The troops started shooting into people's homes indiscriminately, and beating and torturing anyone they happened to find. They were beaten with rifle butts and anything that came to hand, even after they were lying powerless on the ground.

The troops went from house to house, destroying people's possessions. They started with the houses closest to the spot where the two soldiers were killed. The first house was that of a 60-year-old man who was lying in bed at the time recovering from an illness. They fired into the house, but by the grace of God, Vasco do Santos survived. The elderly man was beaten up by the assailants who left him covered in brusies and swellings on his chest and waist.

The next house they entered was that of Ananias, a cowherd. While destroying things in the home, they held him at gunpoint. He had been sitting at a table eating when the ten armed men entered his house. He was kicked and beaten, then taken into custody. Witnesses say that by the time he arrived at the Maliana Kodim, he was in a very bad physical shape. The same thing happened in other houses which were raided, including that of a farmer named Gustavo who was also arrested and beaten so badly that his body was like a wreck. A week later, nothing was known about his whereabouts.

Another victim was Francisco Soares who was beten and tortured in his home and left lying very badly injured.

Other inhabitants of Cailaco managed to flee, especially the younger men. Altogether, according to our information, 174 persons fled, of whom one hundred took refuge in the parish priest's residence. Many others fled to the town of Maliana and went into hiding with relatives or friends.

A small number made their way to Dili where they were interviewed by staff of Yayasan HAK, Rui Viana and Rui Pereira, on 4 December, a couple of hours before returning home to Cailaco after receiving guarantees for their safety from the local military, representatives of the ICRC and the parish priest.

During these interviews, Yayasan HAK was able to gather together information about the situation which led people to take refuge in the Maliana priest's residence.

1. The people fled because of the terror and intimidation spread by the joint operations, with local youths and other people being accused of conspiring with the resistance in planning the murder of the two soldiers. The terror spread as people's homes were fired on and raided. Things worsened after the arrival of a helicopter to transport the bodies of the two soldiers back to Dili. Six members of the SGI arrived on the heli to join the operations. These men started shouting: 'If the young people here carry on like this, we'll finish them off just like we did in Alas.'

After fleeing from their homes, the young people stayed for two days at the Perumnas office in the village of Rita Bou. From there, they went to the priest's home, escorted by ICRC representatives on 2 December. A day earlier, troops from the Halilintar and SGI had launched an attack on the young people taking refuge in the Perumnas office.

2. On 4 December, a dialogue took place on the initiative of the parish priest between the young people who had fled and the local military, witnessed by staff from the ICRC and Kontras, in order to arrange for the young people to return to Cailaco.

3. During this dialogue, the young people presented a written statement which was signed by Agapito Sanches on behalf of eleven youths from Atabae who had also taken refuge in Maliana - though by this time they had returned home.

After attending Mass on 5 December, the evacuees were driven back to their villages in three microlets. On their return, empty, to Maliana, one of the vehicles was halted by four soldiers. The driver thought that they wanted a lift but instead, the soldiers dragged the driver and his crew out and beat them up severely. The men were then ordered to return home and warned not to say anything about the attack.

The men later said they were only able to identify one of the attackers as they were all wearing hoods, like ninjas.

Before Yayasan HAK staff members left to return to Dili, four people arrived in Maliana from Cailaco on a microlet. They were all people who had earlier taken refuge in the priest's residence (and had just returned home having been given a guarantee of their safety).

One of the men, Gaspar Nai Mali, a primary school teacher was in a deplorable state, unable to stand, possibly with broken bones, covered in bruises and with breathing difficulties. When he was assailed, he told Yayasan HAK, he had been carrying his year-old son. His four assailants were all hooded; they beat Gaspar with their fists, rifle butts and wooden sticks. Gaspar and his wife recognised the men as being members of the Halilintar para-militaries who frequently roam the streets in Cailaco.

Two other men who returned to Maliana also had bruises and wounds.

Staff from Yayasan HAK and Kontras took the victims to the residence of the local military commander to report to him what had happened and to ask why this was so after guarantees had been given regarding the safe return of the evacuees from Cailaco. He promised to look into the matter and if necessary punish those responsible.

Yayasan HAK has also received information about the arrest and detention of six young men in Atabae on 2 December by a group of about seventy security forces. They came with a list of the six men to be arrested. After having their hands tied, the men were kicked and beaten before being driven off by a military vehicle. Three days later the six men were transferred to the local police station. They were all in very poor physical shape.

Yayasan HAK staff were later able to meet the men, along with their families. They have been identified as:

1. Agustino Martins, 24, peasant. 2. Laurentinu Martins, 22, teacher 3. Basilio Sousa, 28, peasant. 4. Mariano Fernandes, 28, peasant. 5. Sergio Soares, 19, peasant. 6. Tomasa Tavares, 24, peasant.

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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