Subject: Update on Paramilitary violence, Feb. 23
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:37:36 -0500
From: john roosa <>

Translation of reports from the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in Dili, East Timor which is continuing to investigate the incidents mentioned below

On February 19, 1999, the pro-integration group held a rally in Balibo. It was led by Joao Tavares, former bupati of Bobonaro for two terms and leader of the para-military squad, Halilintar, and by the Area Leadership Conference (Muspida) of Bobonaro to popularize the autonomy plan.

On February 21, 1999, the Halilintar squad arrested and brutalized some residents of the town of Atabae as they were returning home from church and shopping in the bazaar. At least six of the victims have been indentified. They are all from the Bobonaro district:

1. David, 20s, student at U. of East Timor, from Raerobo village 2. Amandio, 30s, farmer, from Raerobo village 3. Jose, 20s, student at U. of ET, from Aidabalete village 4. Mau-Ato, 20s, farmer, from Aidabalete village 5. Andre Guterres, 15, farmer, from Raerobo village 6. Pedro, 20s, farmer, from Raerobo village

These six individuals were arrested and beaten with batons until they were black and blue. Based on eyewitness reports, the victims were taken to the local army headquarters (the Koramil of Atabae) after being beaten. As of now, there is no knowledge of the what has happened to these six men taken into army custody.

After the attack and arrest, the Halilintar squad, armed with automatic weapons, began patrolling at night in Atabae and its environs.

On February 21st, members of the Besi Merah Putih, which is operating throughout the Liquica district, returned to action by checking travelers on the roads in their region. They were searching for anyone appearing to be a pro-independence activist.

On February 22, 1999 at midnight members of Besi Merah attacked Guico village, Maubara sub district, Liquica district. The residents defended themselves. Three members of Besi Merah were killed and five others were seriously injured. The identities of the injured are not yet known but a joint team of Yayasan HAK, Lustitia et Pax, and Caritas has been sent to investigate the incident. The security forces intervened in the conflict to defend the Besi Merah Putih squad.

It is confirmed that 18 people were arrested by security forces in Vatuvou village in Liquica district. Two people challenged the security officials who supported Besi Merah Putih. The security officials agreed to put down their arms and to fight with their bare hands. One of the two men then seized a weapon and six magazines of bullets. He ran away from the scene of fighting and his whereabouts are unknown as of this time. The other man was arrested and brutalized. He is now in the Liquica police station along with 17 other detainees.

The following names are 18 men who are still in detention. All of them are from villages in Maubara sub-district, Liquica District:

1. Amancio Pinto, 27 years, Kampung Boravei, Vatuvou village 2. Jose Soares, 25 years, Kampung Lissa-Lara, Vatuvou village 3. Domingos dos Santos, 20 years, Kampung Lissa-lara, Vatuvou village 4. Manuel Soares, 22 years, Kampung Boravei, Vatuvou village 5. Joao Soares, 25 years, Kampung Lissa-Lara, Vatuvou village 6. Andre Serrao, 22 years, Kampung Kaikassa, Vatuvou village 7. Daniel Crisno, 24 years, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 8. Saturnino de Oliveira, 18 years, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 9. Joanico Olieveira, 19 years, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 10. Claudino Soares, 20 years, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 11. Armindo da Costa, 18 years, Kampung Manu-Kbia, Lissa-Dilla village 12. Manuel de Oliveira, 27 years, peasant, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 13. Eduardo, 25 years, peasant, Kampung Kaikasa, desa Lissa-Dilla village 14. Umberto Afonso, 18 years, peasant, Kampung Kaikasa, Lissa-Dilla village 15. Alfredo Sanches, 20 years, peasant, Kampung Lebuhae, Lissa-Dilla village 16. Joao da Silva, 23 years, peasant, Kampung Ulunana, Transmigration area 17. Jose Mendes, 27 years, peasant, Kampung Boravei, Vatuvou village 18. Florindo da Silva Nunes, 25 years, peasant, Kampung Lissa-lara, Vatuvou village

Note on Florindo da Silva Nunes: According to his family's report both his hands and face were slashed by the police officials. There is no access for lawyers to visit him. Only family members are allowed to meet him.

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