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Subject: INDONESIA ARMY SAYS NO CLASH WITH REBELS IN TIMOR
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 23:11:00 +1000
 

INDONESIA ARMY SAYS NO CLASH WITH REBELS IN TIMOR

(They would, wouldn't they?)

JAKARTA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Indonesian military denied reports it had launched attacks against separatist rebels in the troubled territory, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

"There were no assaults or armed clashes," East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman was quoted as telling reporters in the territory's capital of Dili on Saturday.

Suratman said he had read reports on the Internet saying the Indonesian military had launched attacks on separatist rebels fighting Jakarta's rule in the territory of 800,000 people.

"That information is all made-up and wrong," he said, referring to the information circulated by the Fretilin guerrilla movement operating in the territory's jungle.

Suratman said the military was only conducting patrols in several areas in East Timor.

Antara gave no further details.

Residents and church sources said last month the military had increased its presence in the eastern part of East Timor in an apparent attempt to quell the guerrillas, estimated to number little more than 200.

The Indonesian military has been accused of persistent human rights abuses in East Timor.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year. The United Nations still regards Lisbon as the administering power. Reuter, 11/10/98 15:24 AEST

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