Subject: Antara: Maternus Bere back in Indonesia

Maternus Bere back in Indonesia

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 16:41 WIB | National | | Viewed 33 time(s) Kupang (ANTARA News) - Maternus Bere, a former militia who was captured by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) in Leogore, Covalima`s Suai district, a few months ago, has returned to Indonesia.

Maternus Bere was arrested in Timor Leste for his alleged role in the Suai Church massacre in September 1999. He crossed the border at Mota`Ain, Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), last week, said Belu Vice District Chief Ludovikus Taolin in Kupang on Tuesday.

He said Maternus Bere`s return would be reported formally to the Belu district government and announced to the public on Tuesday (Nov 3) evening, after the East Timorese government officially announced that Maternus had been repatriated to Indonesia.

"Maternus was discharged last week but due to security reasons, his arrival has yet to be officially reported to the Belu district government. Now, Maternus has rejoined his family," said Taolin.

Therefore, he asked all parties not to make statements that could corner the Timor-Leste government on the Maternus Bere case, because it was just bothering the Timor-Leste government effort which had struggled to have Maternus sent back to Indonesia.

Taolin said the release of Maternus bere had become the topic of a serious debate in Timor Leste, even the world`s attitude which was critical of President Ramos Horta and East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao who insisted on helping Maternus return without going trough a judicial process.

In fact, Maternus Bere is one of the former militia who is listed as violence perpetrators in East Timor after the referendum which was won by pro-independence groups.

"I ask for the polemic to be over. Maternus has returned to his family. We have not announced to the public purely for security reasons," said Taolin.

Bere who is also a secretary of the Kobalima Timur, sub-district Belu district, was arrested while attending a traditional ceremony for his late father in Leogore, Suai.

Consul of Timor Leste in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Caetano de Sousa Guterres, said that the Maternus Bere`s return is expected to be a starting point, especially for citizens of both countries in strengthening border reconciliation towards peace and brotherhood as it existed before.

"Let us do things to help people build the two countries escape from the economic and education difficulties all this long," he said.(*)

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