Subject: UN contacts breakaway militia chiefs ready to squeal

UN contacts breakaway militia chiefs ready to squeal

JAKARTA, Nov 2 (AFP) - The United Nations is attemping to meet with breakaway East Timorese militias who have offered to expose those responsible for ordering last year's killings in the province in return for safety guarantees, a UN official and a militia leader said Thursday.

The chief of staff of the UN administration in East Timor (UNTAET), N. Parameswaran, had telephoned former militia commander Joanico Cesario on Wednesday to suggest meeting in Bali in the next few days, UNTAET spokesman Peter Biro told AFP.

"He has spoken to Joanico. What he suggested was that they meet in Denpasar (Bali) to find out what they're suggesting and what their proposals are," Biro said by phone from the East Timor capital Dili.

Cesario and three other militia commanders have sent two public letters to the United Nations Security Council requesting "international and legal security guarantees" in exchange for information on last year's orgy of violence after the August 30 vote for independence.

"Parameswaran rang me on Wednesday and asked to meet us, either in Denpasar (Bali) or anywhere else," Cesario, a former sub-commander with the Pro Integration Forces (PPI), told AFP by phone from the West Timor capital, Kupang.

"Nothing has been fixed yet. What is clear though is that UNTAET will meet us in the near future," Cesario said.

In the first letter the four militia leaders said they feared for their lives and pledged to "honestly, accurately and thoroughly expose all that we know concerning the various events that occurred in East Timor."

It was dated Kupang, October 14 and signed by Cesario, Domingo Pereira, Cancio Lopez de Carvalho, and Nemecio Lopez de Carvalho.

The four said Indonesian military and police officers wanted to stop them from revealing evidence and "secrets concerning cases of human rights violations and crimes against humanity."

Cesario said the UNTAET official had told him that a UN Security Council delegation may meet the four during a scheduled visit to West Timor between November 9 and 18.

Cesario said he and his colleagues were promised protection last week by state prosecutors in West Timor, but police there said they had yet to be notified of such plans.

He also claimed plans were afoot among West Timor authorities to arrest the four militia commanders on the grounds that their appeal to the UN Security Council in some way violated the law.

The pro-Jakarta militia, trained and backed by the Indonesian military, waged a campaign of violence and destruction in the lead-up to and following the UN-held autonomy ballot on August 30 1999. At least 600 people died.

The East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence.

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