Subject: East Timorese leader says Indon military to blame for UN murders

East Timorese leader says Indonesian military to blame for UN murders

JAKARTA, Sept 8 (AFP) - East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao on Friday blamed the Indonesian military for the murder of three United Nations aid workers in West Timor, saying they could not escape responsibility by blaming militia.

"The brutal attack ... is the result of bad faith on the part of the Indonesian military leadership. They cannot escape responsibility by blaming militia," Gusmao said in a statement from New York where he is attending the Millennium Summit.

"It is not only the refugees but the people of West Timor who are held hostage by militia gangs supported by elements of the military," Gusmao said.

The East Timorese figurehead, who spent years in Indonesian jails before returning to his homeland after it voted for independence last year, also said he had met Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid at the summit.

In the meeting, Gusmao said, he and East Timorese Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta had reiterated "our full support for his efforts to bring democracy" to Indonesia.

"We call on him and the international community to form a common front against impunity and organized crime in Indonesia and West Timor," Gusmao said in the statement, which was co-signed by Ramos Horta.

Gusmao, seen as the most likely candidate for president of an independent East Timor when it emerges from UN tutelage, also called on the UN Security Council to set up a war crimes tribunal for the culprits of the post-ballot violence in East Timor last year.

"Only a tribunal will send a clear signal to the criminal elements who destroyed East Timor and continue to terrorize refugees, international staff and others that the world does not tolerate their impunity," he said.

Jakarta's Attorney General's office last week named 19 suspects -- including three Indonesian generals -- in last year's violence that left more than 600 dead and the territory's infrastructure in ruins.

The day before the killings of the three UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) staff in the West Timorese border town of Atambua Wednesday, one of the 19 suspects, a militia leader, was murdered by unknown assailants.

More than 1,000 militia -- East Timorese raised and trained by the Indonesian miltiary during their 24-year occupation of East Timor -- attended his funeral on F0riday, police in the area said.

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