Subject: Cosgrove lashes out at TNI for colluding with militia gangs

also: Newly Appointed Timor Commander: Main Role Is Rebuilding

News Channel Asia [Singapore] 18 January 2000

Cosgrove lashes out at Indonesian troop commander for colluding with militia gangs

Photo: Interfet Commander Major General Peter Cosgrove

Interfet Commander Major General Peter Cosgrove lashed out at the Commander of Indonesia's troops in West Timor for colluding with militia gangs.

Major Cosgrove said he has sent a written complaint to his Indonesian counterpart Major General Kiki Syahnakri, demanding the Indonesia's military prevent militiamen from crossing over the border into East Timor.

Earlier on Tuesday, one pro-Indonesian militiamen was shot dead in clashes with the Australian peacekeepers.

The man was shot in the first of two exchanges of gunfire between the militia and Interfet soldiers on Monday in the coastal enclave of Oecussi, an area surrounded by the Indonesian West Timor.

General Cosgrove, who commands an 8,000-member peacekeeping force there, said the incidents occurred when several groups of armed militiamen attempted to cross into Oecussi.

They exchanged fire after Interfet troops challenged a group of about 20 militia who crossed into the enclave.

In the clash, one militiamen was wounded and died subsequently.

Several others were reported to have been hit too.

Meanwhile, in a second confrontation, two militiamen fired two shots at an Interfet patrol.

No international troops were injured in the clashes.

The firefights came only days after the United States government warned that paramilitaries backed by the Indonesian government army were preparing to infiltrate across the border.

Associated Press January 18, 2000

Newly Appointed Timor Commander: Main Role Is Rebuilding

BAGUIO, Philippines (AP)--The newly appointed commander of international peacekeepers in East Timor said Tuesday he expects most of his work will involve rebuilding the country after its devastation in the wake of a vote to end 25 years of Indonesian rule.

"Our role will be more nation-building rather than peacekeeping," said Philippine army Lt. Gen. Jaime S. de los Santos.

De los Santos, who is to assume his post Jan. 27, said his first days in his new assignment will be spent going over plans for the reconstruction of East Timor.

The Philippines sent about 600 soldiers, mostly military engineers, doctors and dentists, to East Timor.

A 9,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force is expected to take over from Australian-led peacekeepers in February.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he intends to appoint as deputy commander Maj. Gen. Michael Geoffrey Smith, director-general in the Australian Defense Department in charge of East Timor.

The United Nations decided the commander should come from Southeast Asia. The Philippines and Indonesia have close ties, while the Philippines and East Timor share a Catholic heritage.

De los Santos, who was recently promoted to lieutenant general, turned over on Tuesday his post as superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy to Philippine air force Maj. Gen. Melchor Rosales in ceremonies in northern Baguio City.

De los Santos also served as chief of staff of the Philippine army and holds a masters degree in economic research from the University of the Philippines.

The Security Council voted in October to authorize the peacekeepers and empower the U.N. to run East Timor during its transition to independence.

The U.N. mission has been working in East Timor since then to rebuild the territory, which was devastated by weeks of looting and killing by anti-independence militias in the wake of a U.N.-sponsored independence vote in August.

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