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Subject: RT: Indonesia denies deaths in Timor rebel crackdown
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 10:52:55 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <etan@etan.org>

Indonesia denies deaths in Timor rebel crackdown 02:40 a.m. Nov 23, 1998 Eastern

JAKARTA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Indonesia on Monday denied a report that 44 people had been killed during a military crackdown against separatist rebels in the troubled territory of East Timor.

``It is not true that 44 people died,'' foreign ministry spokesman Gafar Fadyl told Reuters.

``We have checked our data. We found out that names and other details are inaccurate,'' he said without elaborating.

A former East Timor governor, Mario Carascalao, was quoted by the Portuguese news agency Lusa as saying on Sunday 44 people had been killed and 40 others injured when Indonesian troops raided the Alas district, 200 km (125 miles) south of capital Dili.

The assault, a week ago, was aimed at the Fretilin separatist movement which attacked the military headquarters in Alas earlier this month. Three soldiers and one rebel guerrilla died in the fight at Alas.

Reports of the killings prompted Portugal, East Timor's former colonial ruler, to suspend talks with Jakarta.

Foreign Minister Jaime Gama said in Lisbon on Friday he had ordered diplomats in New York to halt a scheduled meeting with Indonesian representatives, one of a series brokered by the United Nations, which is seeking a negotiated settlement to the problem of the territory.

Fadyl said Indonesia was aware of Portugal's stance. ``We know about Portugal's decision. They told us they are waiting for our response,'' he said. He gave no further details.

An official with the Jakarta office of the International Red Cross, which has an office in East Timor, said that so far his agency had heard of allegations of five dead, but had not yet confirmed the reports.

He added that about 150 people had fled their houses and taken refuge in a local church and school in Alas when the military moved in.

An ICRC official is travelling back to the area to check .

Indonesia still faces armed resistance in the territory of 800,000 people, mostly from the Fretilin guerrilla movement.

Indonesia estimates the number of rebels at 200.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it in the following year, in a move not recognised by the United Nations.

Human rights officials say some 200,000 people, nearly a quarter of the territory's population, died in the 1975 military takeover and its aftermath.

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