|Subject: KY: Kiki defends military, blames
Also: Pro-Jakarta militiamen return to East Timor
Military says E. Timor violence aimed at tarnishing image JAKARTA, Aug. 17 Kyodo
Accusations that Indonesia's military is supporting violence by pro-Jakarta militiamen targeting U.N. peacekeepers in East Timor are aimed at tarnishing the military's image, an Indonesian general said Thursday.
The state-run Antara news agency quoted Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, in charge of Indonesia's operations in East Timor, as saying the accusations were being made by 'anti-Indonesian' elements.
He claimed that attacks on U.N. peacekeepers could have been carried out by elements within the National Council of Timorese Resistance, a coalition led by pro-independence leader Xanana Gusmao.
Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch called for the banning of arms sales to Indonesia unless its military disbands 'once and for all' the militia groups operating in Indonesia's West Timor Province, bordering East Timor.
'The Indonesian army is doing what it did in East Timor from January to September 1999, standing by and doing nothing while serious abuses take place,' Mike Jendrzejozyk, the group's Asia division director, said in a statement.
In two separate attacks in East Timor on July 24 and Aug. 11, militiamen killed two U.N. peacekeepers.
Indonesian Observer Augsut 18, 2000
Pro-Jakarta militiamen return to East Timor
DENPASAR (IO) - Many members of the pro-Jakarta militia gangs that unleashed last year's carnage in East Timor have returned to the province and joined factions within the National Council of East Timor Resistance (CNRT), a military official said yesterday.
Udayana Military Commander Major General Kiki Syahnakri, whose jurisdiction covers Bali and West Timor, was speaking a day after the latest clash between militia bandits and UN peacekeepers near the border area.
He said the recent increase in incursions can be attributed to "invitations" from CNRT members to incite violence in the former Portuguese colony.
"CNRT has split into five factions. Each of them is trying to invite over the militias to boost its power," he said during an Independence Day celebration in Denpasar, the capital of Bali.
CNRT, headed by resistance leader Jose Alexandre 'Xanana' Gusmao, is the main group that fought for independence in East Timor when it was under Indonesian rule.
Syahnakri said the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) has a letter from Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), inviting the Besi Merah Putih [Red and White Steel] militia group to join it in the East Timor capital of Dili.
Besi Merah Putih, one of the fiercest militia gangs, had been based in Liquisa district.
UDT in 1974 and most of 1975 wanted independence in East Timor. But after a civil war with the Fretilin party in 1975, remnants of UDT backed integration with Indonesia.
Syahnakri, the former head of East Timor's administrative authority, said he has informed UN peacekeepers of UDT's invitation to the militia group.
He said TNI is not the only party responsible for the incursions from West Timor, because UN troops are deployed near the border in East Timor.
The general denied that TNI has been assisting the militias. "Neither do the militiamen carry out missions planned by TNI. But there is always a possibility that CNRT will try to make it look as if TNI is involved in the border incursions."
Suspected pro-Jakarta militias and Fijian UN peacekeepers traded fire just inside East Timor's border on Wednesday night, a UN spokesman said yesterday.
"There were no casualties, and the militias withdrew after the exchange of fire and headed back across the border," Colonel Brynjar Nymo, spokesman for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, was quoted by as saying by AFP.
The clash occurred as the peacekeepers in the UN-administered territory stepped up security in anticipation of attacks by militias on Independence Day.
Nymo gave no further details of the exchange of fire but said the Fijian soldiers were expected to soon file a detailed report on the clash.
He said the clash occurred west of the border town of Suai, 110 kilometers southwest of Dili.
Attacks have increased on the UNPKF by pro-Jakarta militias in the border area in recent months.
Two UN peacekeepers, one from New Zealand and one from Nepal, have been killed in fire-fights over the past month.
Nymo said Wednesday that peacekeepers estimated some 150-200 militiamen were currently in East Timor, operating in five to eight groups.
However he described the situation across East Timor yesterday as "quiet".
Key dates on which peacekeepers are anticipating disturbances are the 25th anniversary of the pro-independence Falintil army's creation on Sunday, the anniversary of last year's independence ballot on August 30, and the CNRT congress over August 21-29.
Nymo said peacekeepers had set up extra roadblocks and increased patrols for the remainder of August. "It's the same increased tempo of operations you'll be seeing in all sectors including the border area and the central sector that includes Dili," he said.
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