Subject: SMH: Balibo witness saw men in a pool of blood

The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Balibo witness saw men in a pool of blood

Hamish McDonald

A FORMER Timorese partisan told a state coroner yesterday he had seen Indonesian soldiers attack two white men trying to surrender after a battle at Balibo 31 years ago.

Augusto Pereira, then an auxiliary with the attacking Indonesian special forces, said the soldiers had "jumped" towards the white men as they stood in the doorway of a house with their hands raised in surrender.

"Two of them jumped on top of the journalists and started to punch them," Mr Pereira told the Glebe Coroners Court in the inquest into the death of the Channel Nine cameraman Brian Peters, who died in Balibo on October 16, 1975.

Peters, along with his colleague Malcolm Rennie and Channel Seven's Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham and Tony Stewart, was killed in a covert Indonesian attack on the border village, witnesses have told the court.

Mr Pereira said he had only a fleeting glimpse of the two men as his column of local conscripts walked by, with Indonesian soldiers ordering them to keep moving.

It was daylight, and fighting had already ended.

About 15 minutes later he had gone with others to look into a house where they had been told there were other dead Europeans, and seen the bodies of three white men in a room.

"We went to look from the back," he said.

"I saw three persons dead on the floor in a pool of blood ... I didn't notice what they were wearing. I was a bit scared. I just walked away from it."

Another Timorese partisan with the attackers, known as Glebe 7 at the inquest, said he had been ordered three days after the attack to burn the charred remains of five bodies in the same Chinese shop-house.

A fire-damaged radio or tape-recorder and a camera were with the remains, which were put on firewood and ignited with kerosene, he said.

His group was told by an Indonesian special forces soldier known as Kris and an East Timorese partisan called Domingos Kiik Bere that the order to destroy the remains came from the attack commander, Captain Yunus Yosfiah.

"Once we burned the bodies they told us not to tell anything to anybody," Glebe 7 said.

Asked if the consequences of talking were made clear, he said: "I could be killed."

The witness said he later served in the Indonesian Army's 744 Battalion raised in East Timor when it was commanded by Yunus Yosfiah and was aware the officer later became Indonesia's information minister.


Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku")

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

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