Subject: Nefarious Militia Leader Keen to Join PDI-P

Indonesian Observer March 24, 2000

Militia leader keen to join PDI-P

JAKARTA (IO) ó Former commander of the feared pro-Jakarta Aitarak militia, Eurico Guterres, says he wants to join Megawati Soekarnoputriís Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which won the majority of votes in last yearís June general election.

He yesterday said he wants to show Megawati that he is grateful to the PDI-P for last year supporting his groupís efforts to maintain East Timor as part of Indonesia.

"When I was in East Timor, I was a member of the provincial legislative body, from Golkar Party... Now I want to join PDI-P," Guterres was quoted as saying by Antara in the East Nusa Tenggara capital of Kupang.

He said another reason he wants to join PDI-P is because elements of the party had strongly complained after the August 30 referendum that East Timor should not be allowed to separate from Indonesia.

Guterresí wish to join PDI-P was welcomed by the head of PDI-Pís East Nusa Tenggara chapter, Anton Haba, and other members of the party.

The militia leader blasted Golkar Chairman Akbar Tandjung, who last year had expressed optimism that pro-Jakarta groups would win the August referendum.

"But Tandjung did not give any reaction when the pro-integration group lost the direct ballot. Tandjung did not give any response when an East Timorese woman, who was in the local legislative assembly, asked him to prevent East Timor from seceding," he said.

After Guterres expressed his desire to join PDI-P, Anton presented him with a jacket and cap in the partyís red-and-black colors.

About 130,000 East Timorese refugees are still in refugee camps in East Nusa Tenggara (West Timor).

Guterres said he would ask them to join PDI-P.

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