|Subject: ETO: Breakdown of Indonesian Armed Forces
stationed in ET
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 20:04:37 +0100
From: Comissão para os Direitos do Povo Maubere <email@example.com>
Observatory / Observatório Timor Leste / Observatoire Timor-Oriental
All peoples have the right to self-determination... all armed action or repressive
measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable
them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence. (Declaration
on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples - UN Gen.Ass. Resolution
Ref: FA03 - 1999/02/10eng
Subject: Breakdown of Indonesian Armed Forces stationed in East Timor
Summary: Post-Suharto Indonesia pledged to progressively withdraw its troops from East
Timor. Hundreds of computerised documents originating from ABRI (Indonesias Armed
Forces), smuggled out of East Timor, reveal that troop numbers are far higher than those
the authorities are admitting to. The documents also provide information on the presence
of Timorese in Indonesias armed forces and reveal that there is a danger of the war
becoming "Timorised". All this information should be carefully analysed when
Indonesia, in need of economic aid, is making all kinds of promises but subsequently, in
East Timor, does just the opposite to what it has pledged.
- 1. Last June, the UN Secretariat quoted official Indonesian sources as stating that
Indonesia was maintaining "7 Battalions in the Territory, with between 600 and 650
men per battalion". However, the Secretariat also referred to other sources that had
estimated 15,000 as being the number of Indonesian troops in East Timor. (Working Paper
- 2. Why is Indonesia deploying such high numbers of military personnel in its "27th
Province" if, as it claims, the guerrillas have been "reduced to 200 men, of
whom only half have firearms", and if the Timorese population is in favour of
integration in Indonesia?
- 3. On 26 June 1998, Bishop Belo, the 1996 Nobel Prize laureate, met with Suhartos
successor, Yusuf Habibie, and asked that Indonesia withdraw its troops from the territory.
The new President promised a "progressive" withdrawal. In late July, 400 men
were withdrawn. In early August, a further 900 troops were sent home. The withdrawal,
however, stopped short there.
- 4. At that time, Lt. Col. Suratman, Military Commander of the "27th Province",
stated that troops in East Timor numbered 12,000. After the withdrawal of 1,300 men,
10,700 had been left. (AP, Dili, 8 Aug. 98). Two months later, while denying all the
reported sightings of reinforcements entering the territory, Indonesian Foreign Minister,
Ali Alatas, stated that the number of military personnel in East Timor was about 6,000.
Indonesias chief diplomat insisted, however, that these were "non-combatant
troops" (AFP, Sidney, 26 Oct. 98). The spokesman for the Bali Military Command, which
covers East Timor, went even further: "We have only 3,000 soldiers in East
Timor", said Lt. Col. Made Runa (Reuters, 30 Oct. 98).
The Facts: The information that refutes all these claims by Indonesian leaders is
contained in official documents produced by the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) themselves.
The documents, which were smuggled out and made public in Australia in late October 1998,
were carefully examined by experts and by Western diplomats posted in Indonesia. They
concluded that the documents were, in fact, authentic (BBC, 29 Oct. 98 and AFP, 30 Oct.
98). The most recent figures found among the documents refer to August 1998. The following
data was taken from a chart containing personnel statistics for that month:
1. ABRI separates the personnel it deploys in East Timor into two broad categories:
"organik" troops, meaning those normally based in the "27th Province",
and "penugasan", referring to troops ordinarily stationed in other provinces,
but temporarily posted to East Timor.
2. In August 1998, the "organik" troops included:
- · 7,330 officers, non-commissioned officers and private soldiers. They are mostly of
Indonesian origin. Although two of the seven "organik" battalions (Battalion 744
and 745) are usually presented as being made up of Timorese, the experts who analysed the
documents concluded that the names of all the officers and most of the soldiers in those
battalions were, in fact, Indonesian.
- · 2,566 "milsas". These are locally recruited troops. Although some may be
Indonesian residents in East Timor, nearly all are Timorese, and belong to ABRI personnel.
- · 929 "wanra". These are professional soldiers, also locally recruited, but
they belong to a force of auxiliary troops. They take part in operations like the others,
but are not considered ABRI personnel and do not have the same benefits as them.
- · 1,563 "PNS". These are civil servants working for ABRI, who have undergone
military training but whose duties are administrative.
1. Within the "penugasan" category (i.e. troops normally stationed in other
provinces but now posted to East Timor as temporary reinforcements) there are two distinct
- · 7,938 ABRI (this figure does not include Timorese soldiers).
- · 1,200 locally recruited "wanra". Although they are grouped within the
"wanra" branch, these 1,200 men belong to paramilitary groups that go by the
names of: "Tim Saka", "Tim Alfa", "Tim Makikit", "Tim
Halilintar", etc. They are under the direct command of "penugasan" troops,
and usually receive their orders from the "Kopassus" elite troops. · The
Indonesian authorities have always denied having any control over these paramilitary
groups that are responsible for many of the most flagrant human rights violations.
However, the ABRI statistics charts clearly include these paramilitary groups 13 in
all among its personnel, allocating each group to a District, and even registering
the casualties among them. There was never any doubt about the ABRI-paramilitary groups
link but, until now, there had never been such tangible proof. These groups are usually
used to carry out "dirty work"
- · Although "penugasan" troops are supposed to be only temporarily posted to
East Timor, the statistical charts now available confirm previous reports that such troops
had been permanently stationed in East Timor. This "subtle" distinction between
types of troops has enabled Indonesian leaders to "forget" the
"penugasan" when referring to troop numbers in East Timor. Numbers of
"penugasan" increased at the very same time as Indonesian authorities were
claiming to be reducing troops in the territory: in November 1997 there were 6,172
"penugasan", while in August 1998 there were 7,938.
- · The number of "penugasan" troops was exactly the same in July as it was in
August 1998, and this is odd for two reasons: (a) because the authorities claimed they had
withdrawn 1,300 men at that very time, and (b) because there were numerous sightings of
further Indonesian battalions entering East Timor during that period, complete with
accurate details of the battalions and forces identification. However, there
is no record on the statistical charts for either (a) or (b). This raises the possibility
that entire battalions, that are not included on official military personnel records, are
being sent to East Timor. These "off the record" forces would exacerbate further
the following conclusions.
- 1. Based on the August 1998 figures, which give a total of 21,540 ABRI personnel
stationed in East Timor, Indonesia is deploying 1 member of its Armed Forces per 40
inhabitants in East Timor (and that is taking into account neither the 1,577 PNS, nor the
"off the record" battalions seen entering the territory). This ratio is between
7 and 9 times higher than the military personnel per inhabitant ratio in Indonesia.
- 2. The total number of Timorese incorporated in the Indonesian Armed Forces is not
known. However, what the available figures do indicate is that their number is wholly out
of proportion to the 200 guerrillas. Among the Timorese in ABRI are the "milsas"
(2,566), the "wanra" (929), and the trained paramilitaries (1,200). To this
total of almost 4,700 men, a further unknown number of Timorese from among the 7,330
officers, non-commissioned officers and private soldiers of the "organik" troops
must also be added. There is also an unknown number of Timorese among the 1,577 PNS (who
have undergone military training), and among the large number of "ratih"
young men given military training in preparation for joining the "wanra".
- 3. The ground has been dangerously prepared for a "Timorization" of the war.
Recommendations: We suggest that you ask your government and/or other
- · To contact the Indonesian Government and the East Timorese independence leader,
Xanana Gusmão, and press for a peaceful transition.
- · To appeal to the Indonesian Government to immediately disarm all paramilitary groups
and reduce the numbers of its troops in the territory.
- · To urge the United Nations to send observers without delay and, at a later stage, to
set up a police force to maintain security.
Observatory for the monitoring of East Timors transition process a programme by
the Comissão para os Direitos do Povo Maubere and the ecumenical group
A Paz é Possível em Timor Leste Coordinator: Cristina Cruz
----------------------- Rua Pinheiro Chagas, 77 2ºE - 1050-176 Lisboa - Portugal ph.: 351
1 317 28 60 - fax: 351 1 317 28 70 - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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