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Subject: AETN Urgent INDON offensive
Date: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 09:55:59 +0930
From: Rob Wesley-Smith <rwesley@ozemail.com.au> Organization: Australians for a Free East Timor (AFFET) /Troppo Rural Consulting

AUSTRALIAN EAST TIMOR NETWORK (AETN) Urgent PRESS RELEASE Friday 9th October 1998

"INDON MILITARY OFFENSIVE in EAST TIMOR - Deaths"

The Indonesian Military have escalated their troop numbers in eastern East Timor and are now engaged in renewed war against the people. The Indonesian government has shown bad faith not only to the people of East Timor, and to the UN and the tri-partite talks process, but also to the media which it conned into reporting that troops were really being withdrawn.

We now have reliable evidence that the massive troops buildup of recent weeks is resulting in clashes with the population, including beatings, rapes and deaths, so its business 'as usual'. Although reports were available of large concentrations of Indonesian troops, even battalion numbers and locations, it seems that until the shooting starts, little action is taken.

The Australia East Timor Network (AETN) consisting of those signatories below, demand: 1. the Indonesian government immediately withdraws these troops, in the first instance and at the least, to barracks 2. the UN impose military and financial sanctions against Indonesia until all its troops in East Timor are, at the least, withdrawn to barracks 3. the Australian government use its offices to support the above demands, and makes available to the world the evidence it has from its spy-radio and intelligence links that such an escalation of troops and fighting is taking place 4. the UN secretary general withdraws support for a so-called autonomy for East Timor within the Indonesian state, but instead requires all Indonesian troops to leave now

On 6 October 1998 the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) of the USA condemned the massive build-up of Indonesian troops in East Timor. ETAN called on the Indonesian government to allow international monitors to survey the number and location of any troops on the ground, and to verify troop withdrawals.

Details: It was previously claimed on 24 Sept. that up to 20,000 Indon troops are in place in eastern East Timor, and several thousand troops had been added since the much touted August withdrawal of 400 in full view of the media. It is impossible to know the exact numbers, but it is clear that several thousand troops have been added to the existing many thousands.

On 25 Sep the ABRI spokesperson Brig Gen Syamsul denied a military offensive was on the way, now proven to be yet another lie. During this time, in fact since April, the Resistance has been observing a ceasefire, and the recent student-led dialogues about self-determination have been taking place in many areas in the east in full view of the military, so both can now be seen to have allowed Indonesian Intel superior advantage.

Some Battalions identified include: Nos. 612, 646, 741 and 746; 406, 443, 744, 745 of Kostrad; Naval, Kopassus, Timorese and at least 3 Brimob (which are crack Police Units but also act as combat troops).

Some human rights violations reliably reported earlier this week are: * 2,000 Indonesian troops surrounded Resistance leader Taur Matan Ruak and his group, who only escaped death or capture through their superior local skills. * Troops from Btn 646 'disappeared' 7 civilians (named) from Rai-Mean near Viqueque as part of terror tactics. * Detail of one of two known armed conflicts on Wed near Los Palos, where 11 Indon soldiers were killed for the loss of 2 Resistance. Falintil captured 3 guns. Another action was near Manatuto, details yet unclear. Helicopters arrived in Dili carrying lots of wounded soldiers, and 4 ambulances ferried the wounded to the Dili Military Hospital.

AETN members below express their sorrow and outrage that Indonesia, economically on its knees, is still prepared to flout international law and human decency by continuing to terrorise and murder East Timorese, in a vain attempt somehow to persuade them and the world that they really want and should be part of Indonesia.

Signed (please feel free to contact any of these signatories): Australians for a Free East Timor (AFFET) Darwin Rob Wesley-Smith PhFx 61 8 8983 2113 015 613570 Australian East Timor Association NSW Dr Andrew McNaughtan 02 99605550 East Timor Justice Lobby Vacy Vlazna Ph 02 99487043 AFFET Vic Jim Aubrey Ph 03 97915575 Friends of East Timor Neil Sullivan 08 93281970 Hobart East Timor C'tee Jennie Herrera Ph 03 62282727 AFFET Canberra Gareth Smith Ph 02 62477429 Friends of East Timor Lismore Saskia Ph 02 66891658 University Students for East Timor Vic Iain Pople Ph c/ 03 93290709 USET Darwin Cesarina 08 89832113 Campaign for Independent East Timor SA Andy Alcock Ph 08 83710480 The AustralAsian editor Sonny Inbaraj Ph 08 89855529 Aust Arts East Timor (AArET) Dr Martin Wesley-Smith AM Ph 044 651299 Dr. George Junus Aditjondro, Lecturer in the Sociology of Post-colonial Liberation Movements, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308.

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