Subject: Lusa: Bodies of Oe Cusse Massacre Victims Return to Enclave

East Timor: Bodies of Oe Cusse Massacre Victims Return to Enclave 16 Oct-18:30

The mortal remains of victims of one of last year's worst massacres in East Timor will be transported back to the Oe Cusse enclave after having undergone forensic examination in Dili, the spokeswoman for the territory's UN Transition Administration said on Monday.

Barbara Reis said the bodies would be flown in the next few days back to the Passabe region of Oe Cusse, where they will be buried in the village of Tumin near the Indonesian border.

The north coast Oe Cusse enclave is separated from the rest of East Timor by about 80 kms of Indonesian territory.

The massacre victims were allegedly killed on Sept. 9, 1999, during the campaign of terror unleashed by pro-Indonesia militias a week after East Timor voted for independence in a UN-supervised plebiscite. The UN has estimated that 75 East Timorese were massacred in Passabe, where at least 25 mass graves have been discovered in an area less than 400 meters from the Indonesian frontier.

The victims had first been abducted from their villages and taken across the border to register in the village of Oesilo in Indonesian West Timor. Militiamen then escorted the hostages back into East Timor and killed them just inside the border. Residents of a nearby village were forced to bury the victims.

Many of the bodies have their hands tied. Some skulls present deep slash wounds "provoked by a strong blow from a cutting instrument similar to a machete."

The mass graves were discovered by Australian soldiers last December. UN experts exhumed 61 of the bodies two months later. Only 15 were identified during the forensic examination, Reis said on Monday.

UN investigators have said available evidence indicates that the perpetrators of the Passabe massacre remain at large across the border in the Indonesian half of Timor island.

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