Subject: MI: Militia leader's confession to Indonesian investigation

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts February 14, 2000, Monday

Militia leader gives evidence of Indonesian military's role in killings

Excerpts from report by Indonesian newspaper 'Media Indonesia' web site on 11th February

The commission investigating human rights violations in East Timor has finally completed the report of its findings. The evidence was so convincing that accusations of physical violence and threats to kill were included. After questioning dozens of witnesses who were civilian officials in East Timor, and militia, police and TNI [Indonesian National Military Forces] personnel of various ranks, the commission was convinced that serious human rights violations occurred in East Timor.

The testimony of one witness (suspect) to the commission supports the view that they were aided and assisted with training, weapons and money by the Indonesian military. The following is the confession of a man suspected of involvement in human rights abuses as given to the commission.

[Q] What important positions have you held?

[A] In 1974-1976 I was the commander of a 216-strong group fighting for integration with Indonesia ... But up until East Timor separated from Indonesia, I was in the BRTT [East Timor People's Front] Security Council...

[Q] At that stage were militia groups already being formed?

[A] It's difficult for me to answer that question. I experienced 24 years of continuous war. Maybe ABRI [Indonesian Armed Forces] was tired of fighting Falintil or placed too much trust in us to do it. Basically they gave us weapons every year.

[Q] Did you receive weapons at the end of 1998 or the beginning of 1999?

[A] We received weapons directly from SGI [joint intelligence unit]. Each commander took delivery of his own quota of weapons, and some took them home to their own districts.

[Q] What about 1999? [A] In the last few months, I also received weapons, but I was ordered to store them at the Military District Command. On 25th March, the SGI commander himself and Bambang plus six of their men delivered the weapons to my house in Ermera.

[Q] How many weapons?

[A] 300. But I couldn't take delivery of them all because there wasn't enough storage space. I told them to store them at the Military District commander's house. At the same time I was summoned by the East Timor governor.

[Q] What kind of weapons?

[A] Many different kinds. At that time they gave us SKs, AR-16, AK-47. Plus rifles. I think the rifles were made in Bandung. But the AK and SKs, they were Russian.

[Q] How were they distributed? [A] The militia didn't need to write reports; we just used some from the Military District Command [MDC] because the SGI and Tribuana members who were from Kopassus [Army Special Forces] were based at the MDC. They wore plain clothes. If we needed money, we just asked.

[Q] Was the militia free? [A] The militia was free - we could burn, arrest, kill - it was up to us...

[Q] Were the weapons distributed in Ermera? [A] I had no militia forces in Ermera. But after I went to Jakarta on the 6th, on the 10th [as received] a regional assembly (DPRD) level II member Antonio Lima was murdered. Several days later two young children were also murdered. The people began to panic.

[Q] Is it clear this was carried out by the militia? [A] It was militia. But it was militia from the Military District Command, not those from the hills or the villages.

[Q] Were there military personnel who became militia? [A] Many. Those who were known as militia were in front while the ones behind were elite troops in Aitarak uniforms.

[Q] Did you know of any plans to carry out massacres in East Timor after February such as the Liquica case? [A] It would be better if you asked Joao Tavares that question but I knew myself that this had been planned for us to carry out. The aim was to threaten and place pressure on those who wanted independence. Maybe this way we could have changed them but what happened instead was resentment among the people.

[Q] Therefore who carried out these murders? [A] The murders in February 1999 were carried out by militia groups Besi Merah Putih [Red and White Iron] and Halilintar [Thunder] from Suai, Maliana and Liquica. Actually this problem and the issue of the 3,250 refugees had already been conveyed to those at the Muspida [Regional Leaders Conference] but they said, "It is the Security Disturbance Movement (GPK) they are against, whether they want to die or do something else, it's up to them," he said...

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