Subject: AP: Indonesia to clamp down on militia thugs into East Timor

Also: Pro-integration group denied their milita involved in East Timor raids

Associated Press March 12, 2000

Indonesia to clamp down on militia thugs into East Timor

JAKARTA -- Indonesia will clamp down on militia thugs who have been infiltrating into East Timor and endangering United Nations peacekeepers in the troubled region, the official Antara news agency said on Sunday.

Chief of the West Timor military district, Colonel Jurefar, said the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor had recently complained about repeated incursions into East Timor by groups of pro-Indonesian militiamen.

In response to these complaints, his command would step up border patrols, Col Jurefar was quoted by Antara.

The gangs are the remnants of paramilitary militia groups used by the Indonesian army as auxiliaries during their war against the East Timorese independence movement.

After the Aug 30 UN-sponsored plebiscite in which the half-island territory opted overwhelmingly for independence, the militias launched a campaign of killing, looting and burning. This ended with the arrival of international troops on Sept 20.

When the Indonesian military pulled out of East Timor, the militiamen fled to Indonesian-held West Timor along with about 250,000 East Timorese refugees.

About 120,000 people -- including militia members -- remain in squalid camps in West Timor. Some militiamen have been making armed forays across the border into East Timor, mainly to steal food and money.

==== Pro-integration group denied their milita involved in East Timor raids

JAKARTA, March 11 (AFP) - Pro-Indonesian East Timorese leaders on Saturday denied responsibility for a spate of recent armed cross-border raids into their homeland from Indonesia and said they did not know who had launched them.

Speaking at a press conference in a hotel in the Indonesian capital on behalf of the Uni Timor Aswain (UNTAS), which includes a militia wing, Domingos Soares and Basilio Dias also said their men had disbanded.

"As of November 1999, we have disbanded the Pro-Integration Fighters... we have no idea who committed the raids," Soares said in a press briefing here.

"Everything is always blamed on the militia ... don't just look for scapegoats, and we deeply object to the complaints by the UN which suggested that it was the militia who committed the raids," he said.

He was referring to strong protests lodged in Jakarta by the head of the UN peacekeeping force, Lieutenant General Jamie de los Santos, on Thursday over the raids which were launched from Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

The 16 attacks in as many days have been conducted by troops of well-armed men.

They left at least one East Timorese dead, one wounded and 10 houses burned and in one case the attackers shot at an Australian helicopter, officials of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) have said.

Soares emotionally suggested that since UNTAET was the sole administrator in East Timor, it should just "arrest those who committed the raids" instead of "continuing their unprofessionalism by seeking scapegoats."

The pro-Jakarta militia, who conducted the reign of terror in East Timor with at least the tacit support of the Indonesian military after its people voted for independence last year, fled to West Timor when Australian troops landed in September to halt the violence.

Some have since regrouped.

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Friday ordered his armed forces to take stern action against perpetrators of the attacks and if necessary disarm them. A military spokesman said discussions were underway on whether to reinforce the Indonesian army presence on the border to help stop the raids.

Soares also told the press conference that the pro-integration organization would continue to fight for "generations" for "a peaceful and fair solution for East Timor" but only through political means.

He denied receiving funds from the Indonesian government.

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