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Subject: AFP: ABRI vows hunt
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 14:36:43 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <etan@etan.org>

Agence France Presse East Timor military vows to hunt down killers of soldiers, engineer

DILI, East Timor, Nov 1

The head of the Indonesian military in this troubled territory on Monday vowed to hunt down those responsible for the murders of two soldiers and an engineer last week.

"The patience of the security personnel has its limit. We will seek and catch the perpetrators," Colonel Tono Suratman told journalists here.

He was refering to the people who mobbed and stabbed several soldiers and a civilian engineer to death in the village of Weberek, in Alas sub-district, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) southeast of here on Thursday.

But one of the soldiers, identified as Iswanto, who was stabbed seven times, managed to escape and reach the military sub-district office 37 kilometres (23 miles) away on Sunday, Suratman said.

The survivor said that the patrolling soldiers, accompanied by the civil engineer, had halted at Weberek on Thursday while a meeting was being held at the village hall between villagers and members of the pro-independence guerillas.

The soldiers were attacked by the guerillas and local youths but Iswanto said he managed to escape.

The bodies of two Indonesian territorial army troops and the civil engineer were found dumped in a river on Friday.

Iswanto has been flown to Dili on Sunday, Suratman said. The soldier had since lost consciousness because of fatigue and his wounds and is now being treated at the Wirahusada military hospital here. Suratman said last weekend that the victims had been killed on Friday and that they had been part of a regular patrol and were unarmed at the time. Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed the territory the following year.

But the United Nations continues to regard Lisbon as the official administrator of East Timor and its secretary general has sponsored peace talks between Portugal and Indonesia since 1983.

A pro-independence movement has since provided armed resistance against the Indonesian presence there.

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