Subject: Former East Timorese militia in Indonesia still have weapons

BBC Monitoring

Former East Timorese militia in Indonesia still have weapons

September 21, 2004 10:53am Asia Intelligence Wire

Source: Tempo Interaktif web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 17 Sep 04

Kupang: The chief of district police in Belu, Asst Sen Comm (AKBP) Ekotrio Budhiniar admitted that many homemade firearms, military weapons and grenades were still being held by pro-autonomy East Timorese, particularly former militia who joined in Jakarta and are now living in Belu, Nusa Tenggara Timor (NTT). A large number of the weapons were buried under ground or hidden in the forest near the East Timor border. Although Ekotrio did not specify how many weapons were held by the former militia, he did however, say that the weapons were deliberately hidden because they were worried about being charged under the emergency and gun ownership laws. "The security forces have appealed to the militia to hand over their weapons for destruction but we have not had a good response" said Ekotrio when contacted on his cellular phone on Friday (17 September)."

The Chief of district police added that currently, police intelligence are still trying to discover where the weapons have been buried. "Several days ago, we found two live hand grenades at a secret location and these are currently in the custody of police at their headquarters in Belu," he said.

According to Ekotrio, the problem of weapons and grenades circulating among former militia still had to be solved. The police and security forces who are currently posted on the border are working hard to persuade at least 45 pro-autonomy leaders and former commanders who still live in Belu, to appeal to their followers to surrender their weapons for destruction.

Source: Tempo Interaktif web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 17 Sep 04


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