Subject: Indonesian army supported E. Timor militias: ex-militia leader

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Indonesian army supported E. Timor militias: ex-militia leader

DILI, East Timor, March 7 (Kyodo) - The Indonesian military (TNI) armed East Timor's pro-Jakarta militia groups and ordered the campaign of violence and destruction in the territory before and after it voted for independence in August 1999, a former militia leader has revealed.

Nemecio Lopez de Carvalho, former deputy commander of the once-feared Mahidi militia, told Kyodo News on Wednesday that in addition to training, TNI's special forces division (KOPASSUS) gave money and arms to assist Mahidi's anti-independence activities.

''The idea of setting up the group came from KOPASSUS and later on it was extended to other remote villages by marines who worked side by side with KOPASSUS,'' he said.

De Carvalho, 36, said around 500 guns were distributed to Mahidi militia members for use in attacks after the result of the U.N.-sponsored referendum was announced Sept. 4, 1999, showing that East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to end Indonesia's military rule.

The pro-Jakarta militias went on a rampage, killing hundreds, razing the territory and herding more than 300,000 people into Indonesian West Timor.

De Carvalho said the militiamen also took stimulant drugs provided by Indonesian intelligence agents before going on their killing spree.

After he and other militiamen fled to West Timor, he said TNI set out a plan to send them back to East Timor to carry out guerilla attacks, adding TNI handed out another 1,000 rifles to the members.

''Those weapons used by the militia during the incursions were the ones distributed in West Timor,'' he said.

However, he said strategy backfired when three staff members of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees were killed by pro-Jakarta militiamen in the border town Atambua on Sept. 6, 2000.

After the attack, the U.N. Security Council demanded the Indonesian government arrest the perpetrators and confiscate all weapons from militia members.

Militia rebels also withdraw from East Timor after rumors spread that their families and relatives were to be relocated to other parts of Indonesia, he said.

A TNI official contacted by Kyodo News denied TNI provided weapons to pro-Jakarta militias.

''TNI never provided any weapons to them. Our policy was clear that we accepted the result of the popular consultation,'' said Col. Poltak Sijabar.

De Carvalho was among some 500 refugees who returned to East Timor in October 2001 and was subsequently investigated by the Dili District Court. He is currently under the control of the court.

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