Subject: E. Timor: 2 Alleged Pro-Jakarta Ex-Militiamen Arrested

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

E Timor Police Arrest 2 Alleged Pro-Jakarta Ex-Militiamen

DILI, East Timor, Jan. 9 (AP)--East Timor police said Thursday they arrested two former pro-Jakarta militiamen on weapons charges but declined to say if the men were linked to a recent surge in violence in the newly independent country.

In raids late Wednesday, East Timor's Deputy Police Chief Julio da Costa Hornay said they arrested two ex-members of the "Red and White Iron" militia, which is blamed for a 1999 church massacre. The two men had allegedly returned from self-imposed exile in Indonesia, da Costa Hornay said.

Nearly 2,000 civilians in East Timor were believed killed in 1999 and 250,000 forced to flee their homes when Indonesian troops and their militia proxies launched a campaign of terror before and after an independence referendum.

Authorities declined to say if the two men arrested Wednesday were among a group of pro-Indonesian militiamen blamed for killing three people Saturday in the villages of Tiarelelo and Laubonu -located about 60 kilometers southwest of the capital.

Witnesses said the same group allegedly attacked the area on Jan. 2, kidnapping at least six villagers. One of the villagers escaped and two were found dead Thursday, police said.

The killings - the first linked to pro-Jakarta militias since independence in May - prompted East Timor police and U.N. peacekeepers to beef up patrols in the area. President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri flew to the area Sunday to meet with residents.

East Timor gained full independence after a period of transitional rule by the U.N. following Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation. Militia leaders have been put on trial in Indonesia and East Timor, and many pro-Jakarta militiamen remain in West Timor.

Last month, East Timor's Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta suggested that pro-Jakarta militiamen were behind a one-day riot that left two dead and dozens of buildings destroyed in Dili. Among the buildings burnt down was the residence of Alkatiri.

On Sunday, Alkatiri suggested militias have became active in the country, though he stopped short of blaming them for the attack on the two villages.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda dismissed suggestions that Indonesians were behind the recent violence, saying that East Timor should resolve its own domestic problems.


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