Subject: AFP: Rebels claim Indonesia sent fresh trrops into E.Timor
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 17:44:54 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au> Organization: The AustralAsian

Rebels claim Indonesia sent fresh troops into East Timor

Fri 11 Sep 98 - 04:59 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 11 (AFP) - Pro-independence rebels in the troubled territory of East Timor said Indonesia sent fresh troops there before the end of a highly publicised pullout of 1,000 soldiers, a report said Friday.

The Darwin-based East Timor International Support Centre in a press release quoted a rebel leader in the eastern region of East Timor as saying 300 troops had arrived there on August 6.

Renan Selak, regional secretary of the Eastern Region for the East Timorese armed resistance force (Falintil) said in a letter dated September 6 that the troops arrived by sea and docked at the Lospalos district at the eastern tip of the territory.

The letter identified the troops as coming from Batallions 742 and 743 and said they had set up base 10 kilometres (six miles) from Lospalos, the main city of the district.

He called the gradual military withdrawal from East Timor pledged by the Indonesian government of President B.J. Habibie "a false promise" and alleged several thousand Indonesian troops had entered the territory before the highly-publicised withdrawal of 1,000 troops in July and August.

Indonesia pulled out 398 soldiers from East Timor on July 28 as part of its pledge and followed with some 700 other troops on August 8.

Indonesian military authorities in Dili also said that on August 5, three companies of soldiers and police mobile brigades, totalling about 300 men, had departed from East Timor but they left as part of a regular troop rotation.

They said their replacements arrived in East Timor on August 6 but were unarmed non-combat units that included one company from the military health division.

Habibie pledged a 'gradual" troop withdrawal in a meeting with East Timorese Bishop Carlos Belo in June, shortly after he replaced ex-president Suharto.

Suharto ordered the 1975 Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony and its annexation the following year. Officials have said the force reduction will be followed by others in the future but no numbers were given.

Critics here and abroad have accused the Indonesian military, with its pervasive presence in East Timor, of serious violations of human rights and have called for their withdrawal as a prerequisite to peace there.

Western military attaches here said the withdrawal of the 1,000 troops was unlikely to change the military balance in East Timor, where an estimated 200 guerrillas are still operating.

Military officials here said the total pre-pullout troop strength in East Timor stood at 12,700 -- 6,700 of them "organic" or East Timorese.

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