|Subject: JP: Operation to disarm militias
Jakarta Post October 02, 2000
Operation to disarm militias extended
JAKARTA (JP): Security forces are stepping up the weapons sweeping operations in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) following the decision by the National Police to extend the operation for another 15 days.
Earlier on Saturday, police searched the house of influential ex-militia leader Eurico Guterres on Jl. Robert Walter Monginsidi in NTT's capital of Kupang, Antara reported.
"The police have decided to extend sweeping operations for the next 15 days to thoroughly clear the area of any illegal weapons," National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro said on Sunday after attending a ceremony at the Lubang Buaya Monument in East Jakarta on Sunday morning commemorating the 1965 national tragedy due to the betrayal of state ideology, Pancasila .
Bimantoro said the action was needed to ensure that security in the area returns quickly to normal.
"This is part of the effort to show the country's seriousness in handling the problem," the general said, adding that after the deadline the police would take other actions to restore peace and law and order in the area, including routine intelligence operations.
Indonesia has promised the United Nations (UN) Security Council to disarm the militias, which have been blamed for the killing of three UN relief workers and of terrorizing more than 130,000 East Timorese in refugee camps in West Timor.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Akbar Tandjung reiterated that the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) and the Indonesian authorities must be able to provide security guarantees for both refugees and the militias.
"We have to take care of them, because, after all of this time, they have become part of the nation. We can't turn our back on them despite the result of East Timor ballot.
"Therefore, the authorities have to use a persuasive approach in the (gun sweeping) operation, because they have shown strong support for integration in the past years," Akbar said on Sunday.
In Kupang, three companies of joint police and military personnel conducted a thorough search of Eurico's house on Saturday following reports that the former Aitarak militia commander still concealed weapons.
At the time of the search, Eurico reportedly was in Jakarta to answer the Attorney General's summons for questioning about atrocities committed following East Timor's autonomy ballot in August last year.
Present during the fruitless search was Eurico's wife Agida and the prointegration refugee camp (Untas) secretary general Filomeno de Hornay.
"On Saturday Eurico surrendered an FN-45 pistol along with 74 bullets and three magazines at NTT Police headquarters, but we suspect that he has more weapons at his home," Chief of NTT Police Operation and Control Sr. Supt. Jefry Kusnafi said.
Eurico admitted that he still had an M-16 semi-automatic rifle in his house at Atambua.
"I've already asked my men to hand it over to Belu Police Precinct. The M-16 was originally taken from a TNI soldier by Portuguese troops and later we seized it during the 1974 civil war against the Fretilin proindependence movement and its armed wing Falintil," Eurico said. (edt)
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