Subject: IND: Indonesian special forces 'killed UN peace-keeper in East Timor'

Indpendent (UK), August 3, 2000

Indonesian special forces 'killed UN peace-keeper in East Timor'

By Richard Lloyd Parry and Joanna Jolly in Dili 4 August 2000

A United Nations peace-keeper who died in East Timor last month was shot by former members of the Indonesian special forces under the noses of the Indonesian authorities, military sources in Dili say.

Private Leonard Manning, from New Zealand, was killed on 24 July after an attack on East Timor's border with Indonesia that showed all the hallmarks of a military ambush carried out by trained soldiers.

In a sweep of the area after the attack, UN forces found a backpack containing military rations and survival equipment, as well as a shirt bearing the insignia of Kopassus, the special forces, which established a murderous reputation in the 24 years after the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975.

They also found the body of Private Manning, whose throat had been cut and his ears severed, another Kopassus trademark. The uniforms worn by the attackers were plain green rather than the more common camouflage style, and they also wore balaclavas, rather than the motley assortment of headgear that are favoured by the civilian militiamen.

UN sources in Dili told The Independent they believe the attackers were members of Kopassus who have been officially discharged, and who have travelled to West Timor to undermine East Timorese independence.

In public, UN sources have diplomatically refrained from suggesting that the Indonesians are helping the militias, but in the past few days that restraint has come close to breaking point.

The head of the UN administration in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, has made repeated requests for the Indonesians to restrain the militias, but to little effect.

"I'm not saying that they've done nothing, but [their efforts] are not sufficient," he said. "Had they disarmed, demobilised and arrested those 200 to 300 extremists that continue to enjoy freedom of movement on the other side of the border, Private Manning would be alive today."

Brigadier Duncan Lewis, a commander with the UN force, said: "We have gunmen that have been coming across the border since February when our force started operations here in East Timor. They have been coming across the border wearing Indonesian uniforms, carrying a range of weapons and ammunition that has Indonesian origin and you would have to make your own conclusions from that." Brigadier Lewis said that the bodies of two armed men killed in a gun battle with UN soldiers on Wednesday carried FKS rifles which are used only by the Indonesian army. Indonesian military surplus can be bought throughout the country. "But what I find distressing is that some of their equipment was relatively new," he said.

East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum last August after a campaign in which there was blatant intimidation by supporters of Indonesia, backed by the military. In the two weeks of violence that followed the vote, Indonesian soldiers operated openly alongside militiamen.

In an unrelated incident, a Bangladeshi peace-keeper in East Timor was killed yesterday by a bomb, while searching for unexploded munitions on a beach near Dili. 

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