Subject: AP: Indon Officer Denies He Shot FT Reporter In E. Timor

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Indonesian Officer Denies He Shot FT Reporter In E Timor

KEFA, Indonesia, April 5 (AP)--An Indonesian army officer, who has been named the key suspect in the killing of a Dutch journalist in East Timor in 1999, denied that he had anything to do with the case.

Second Lt. Camillo dos Santos, who is serving in the Indonesian Army's 743 Battalion based in West Timor, said Friday that he had no idea who shot Financial Times reporter Sander Thoenes on September 21, 1999.

"I don't know anything about the Thoenes killing," he said in an interview in the West Timorese town of Kefa.

Last month, dos Santos was named the main suspect by Dutch police officers investigating Thoenes' death. Gerrit Thiry, a Dutch detective assigned to the case, said eyewitnesses had identified the lieutenant as the man who fired on Thoenes.

Thoenes was forced off his motorbike and shot in East Timor's capital Dili shortly after he arrived in the city to cover the arrival of an international peacekeeping force and the withdrawal of Indonesian troops.

Peacekeepers were deployed in East Timor after the Indonesian military went on a violent rampage following a U.N.-sponsored vote for independence. Hundreds were killed and much of the territory was left in shambles.

Dos Santos admitted to being in a convoy of Indonesian soldiers that traveled from the eastern town of Los Palos to the capital Dili at the time Thoenes was shot to death. But he insisted he didn't even know Thoenes had been stopped by soldiers.

"I was in the front and didn't see anything," he said.

Dos Santos said he had already been interviewed by the Indonesian attorney general's office and asked about the case.

"I am not worried because I am sure I'm not a suspect," he said.

Indonesia has pledged to prosecute Thoenes' killers in cooperation with U.N. investigators in East Timor. Dutch police are conducting a separate investigation.

Last month, a team of Indonesian detectives visited East Timor to collect evidence on the case. Indonesian prosecutors haven't yet issued any arrest warrants in connection with it.

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