Subject: JP: Commander insulted by Ramos Horta's allegation over Dili riot

Commander insulted by Ramos Horta's allegation over Dili riot

The Jakarta Post [online] December 12, 2002

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): The commander of the Wirasakti Military Command, Col. Moeswarno Moesanip, lashed out on Thursday at East Timor's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta for accusing pro-Jakarta militia of provoking the Dec. 4 riot in Dili.

"As a border area military commander, I am insulted by the rash accusation made by Ramos Horta," said Moeswarno, who oversees security along the border between East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor.

Pro-Jakarta militia remain in refugee camps in Indonesia's half of Timor island and have refused repatriation to East Timor because they doubt security conditions in their homeland.

"Accusing pro-Jakarta militia of being provocateurs of the Dili riot would be tantamount to blaming the Indonesian border security authorities for a lack of control over the militia, or else they would not have been able to get to Dili," he was quoted as saying by Antara.

Moeswarno said Horta's accusation was a reflection of the East Timor government's failure to cope with the social crisis that had recently broken out in the former Portuguese colony.

"As they have failed to cope with the social problems at home, (they might as well admit it) rather than make a scapegoat of the pro-Jakarta militia as provocateurs of the riot. This (Horta's) statement is out of line and as a border area military commander, I am offended," he said.

Moeswarno said the rash accusation indicated that Horta did not know the true character of his people. "For more than 22 years, he (Horta) has been sojourning in various countries around the world. It is therefore not surprising that he does not know the true character of the East Timorese. When riots break out, he even accuses pro-Jakarta militia of being behind the incident," he said.

Meanwhile, an East Timor delegation consisting of representatives from the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, the UN Civilian Police and the East Timor Police Service told Moeswarno on Wednesday that the riot was the result of people's disappointment over the failure of the government to free them from the shackles of poverty and backwardness.

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