Subject: Balibo update: Another Witness Says Indonesian Army Burned Journalists' Bodies

also: Ex-minister ordered burning of Balibo bodies, court told [Yunus Yosfiah, who became Indonesia's Information Minister in 1998.]

Associated Press Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Indonesia Army Burned Suspected Bodies Of Journalists-Witness

SYDNEY (AP)--Indonesian commanders ordered their troops to burn a pile of bodies believed to be those of five journalists killed during Jakarta's 1975 invasion of East Timor, according to testimony Tuesday.

The five journalists - two Britons, two Australians and a New Zealander - died during an attack by Indonesian special forces on the town of Balibo on Oct. 16, 1975.

The Indonesian government says the reporters were accidentally killed in crossfire, but the family of one of the victims, British-born Brian Peters, insists he was murdered.

Last week, the New South Wales state coroner called an inquest to examine the circumstances of Peters' death. In Australia, a state coroner can investigate any resident's death not due to natural causes, especially if the circumstances are deemed suspicious.

Peters was a resident of New South Wales working for an Australian television network when he died.

On Tuesday, a former Indonesian soldier testifying under a pseudonym for fear of retaliation said his officers gave him kerosene and ordered him to re-burn a pile of bodies that had already been charred a few days before.

The witness told the Glebe Coroner's Court he was told to burn "some of their organs" and "the rest of their remains." He said he believed the bodies belonged to the foreign journalists, but that he could not tell how many bodies there were because they were badly burnt.

He said he saw a camera and a radio in the tangled remains.

Previous witnesses have testified they saw Indonesian soldiers, led by former commander Yunus Yosfiah, fire on the unarmed journalists and then set fire to their bodies.

Another witness, Augusto Perreira, told the court that around the time of the newsmen's deaths, he had seen Indonesian soldiers punching two Caucasian men who were holding their hands up in a surrender gesture.

The journalists were killed as Indonesian special forces attacked a local militia that had claimed sovereignty in East Timor after Portugal abandoned its former colony. The attack was a prelude to a full Indonesian invasion in December of that year.

After its invasion, Indonesia ruled the half-island territory until 1999, when a U.N.-organized plebiscite resulted in an overwhelming vote for independence. As they withdrew, Indonesian troops and their militia auxiliaries destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and killed at least 1,500 people.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ex-minister ordered burning of Balibo bodies, court told

A coronial inquest in Sydney has heard evidence that a military commander who later became an Indonesian government minister ordered the burning of the bodies of five Australian journalists, who were killed during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor.

A witness, codenamed Glebe 7, has told the inquest into the death of Australian cameraman Brian Peters he set fire to five bodies in the 'Chinese house' at Balibo three days after Indonesian troops arrived on October 16, 1975.

Other witnesses have said the Australians were killed in or next to the Chinese house.

Glebe 7 says he was informed the order had come from the Indonesian Army's commander in chief, Yunus Yosfiah, who became Indonesia's Information Minister in 1998.

He says he poured kerosene on the bodies and set them alight, after which he was told to leave.

He told the inquest the bodies had already been burnt.

The witness says he was warned that if he told anyone about it, he could be killed.

Glebe 7 says he could not tell whether the bodies were European but he had been told whites had been in Balibo.

He said he saw a camera, a radio and an antennae in the same room as the bodies, but could not remember seeing a microphone.

The hearing continues.


Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku") 

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service 

Back to February menu

January 2007 menu  
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu