Subject: JP: Construction of Seroja Monument begins

The Jakarta Post June 7, 2002

Construction of Seroja Monument begins

President Megawati Soekarnoputri (left) shook hands with Seroja veterans after laying the first stone at a ceremony on Thursday to mark construction of the Seroja Monument, to commemorate the 3,625 Indonesian soldiers killed in the former Indonesian province of East Timor.

"As I recently fulfilled the invitation of East Timor president Xanana Gusmao to attend the country's independence day, I asked him to maintain all the cemeteries for Indonesian soldiers located in Dili and several regencies there, because, somehow, they are heroes of both countries," Megawati said at the ceremony held at the Indonesian Military (TNI) Headquarters.

Under the New Order regime Indonesia launched the Seroja military operation in 1975 to quell an independence movement in the region.

The Rp 5 billion monument will be built on a 1,400-square-meter plot of land and is slated to be completed on Heroes' Day, Nov. 10, 2002.

Hundreds of Indonesian veterans who served in East Timor burned their medals prior to Megawati's visit to East Timor on May, 20. The visit was also opposed by military officers and House of Representatives legislators.

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