Subject: AGE: Bounty paid to soldier's killers, says UN

The Age Bounty paid to soldier's killers, says UN 
By MARK DODD 
2000-07-27 23:38:42

The pro-Indonesian militia who killed a New Zealand soldier in East Timor this week cut off his ears so they could claim a bounty, according to senior UN military officers.

They also disclosed that Indonesian military equipment was found near the scene of Monday's gunbattle in which Private Leonard Manning, 24, was shot dead.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officers said a bounty of between 1.5 and 2 million Indonesian Rupiah ($A280-$A372) was likely to have been paid to members of the Laksaur militia believed responsible for the death of Private Manning.

"It was a bounty - payment was involved," said one senior officer, citing information from militia sources in Indonesian West Timor.

The bounty was most likely paid by senior anti-independence officials, many of whom became wealthy from their years in Indonesian-ruled East Timor when they had favored political and military connections.

Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes, who was killed by members of an Indonesian army battalion in Dili on September 21 last year, was similarly mutilated.

Private Manning, 24, a forward scout in a five-man squad, was shot dead in a gunfight with up to 10 well-trained militia.

Near the attack site, close to the hamlet of Nana, north west of Suai, New Zealand infantry recovered a quantity of Indonesian military equipment left behind by the militia group at their hideout.

Officers as the UN's military headquarters in Suai yesterday displayed standard issue Indonesian camouflage fatigues, including a shirt bearing the special forces (Kopassus) patch, a jungle knife, a photocopied map of the border, belt-kit, nylon rope, clove cigarettes and washing powder.

Spent 5.56millimetre and 7.62millimetre rifle cartridges had also been collected, consistent with rifles used by militia and the Indonesian military.

UN Civilian Police crime scene investigators have visited the site and compiled a report.

Brigadier Duncan Lewis, the Australian commander of the 2000-strong force of New Zealand, Australian, Fijian, Irish and Nepalese peacekeepers based on the border, conceded yesterday that "rogue" elements of the Indonesian army (TNI) could be active in West Timor.

"There could be (rogue elements). And then by extension the TNI is not involved (in Private Manning's death)," Brigadier Lewis said.

"If there are elements who hold a different view to the central government then it's quite a concern and very dangerous if that situation exists."

Brigadier Lewis has compiled a list of eight integration militia identified as being involved in Monday's attack and has asked the Indonesian military to act on the information.

He said he expected more attacks on Australian and New Zealand positions involving militia with a high level of military expertise.

But he warned that any future cross-border violence would be met with a "very vigorous response from the United Nations peacekeepers".

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/news/20000728/A34294-2000Jul27.html


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