Subject: SCMP: Wiranto 'knew about militia attack in advance'
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 10:22:58 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo:

South China Morning Post Monday, April 19, 1999

East Timor Wiranto 'knew about militia attack in advance'


The Indonesian military not only turned a blind eye to Saturday's militia attacks in Dili but had prior knowledge of the planned targets at the most senior level, diplomatic sources claimed yesterday.

The sources said the militia attack was discussed at a senior security co-ordination meeting in Jakarta last week.

The meeting, held at the Cilangkap armed forces headquarters in Jakarta, was attended by military chief General Wiranto, Udayana military commander Major General Adam Damiri and East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman, the sources said.

Witnesses said what few police and soldiers were on the streets calmly waved the militia trucks on.

"Some of them were even smiling as the attacks were under way," said one witness.

Yesterday, militiamen were allowed to roam through areas of Dili and surround people's homes, unchecked by conventional forces.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would contact President Bacharuddin Habibie about "growing evidence" that Indonesian troops failed to prevent the militia killings.

"You would have to wonder whether these pro-integration militiamen are not getting some kind of permissive response from the Indonesian Army," Mr Howard said.

Police have arrested only six members of the Red and White Iron militia, which is being held responsible. A source in Dili said: "We dismiss arrests of low-level thugs as a way of excusing what General Wiranto has laid out."

The military is keen to stay in East Timor, despite Mr Habibie's offer in January of independence if autonomy is rejected by the people.


Sequence of terror that troops failed to prevent

Early on Saturday morning one of Dili's most prominent independence activists, Manuel Carrascalao, went looking for protection from the only man who could provide it: East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman.

Fearing attacks by anti-independence militia, Mr Carrascalao wanted military help to guard his home, where 126 refugees from violence in outlying villages had sought shelter.

Family sources say Colonel Suratman flatly refused. "The military must remain neutral," he reportedly said.

Hours later, Mr Carrascalao barged into a meeting between Dili's Bishop Carlos Belo and Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews.

"My son is dead!" said Mr Carrascalao, shaking.

The family - one of the most powerful during colonial rule - had been feeding and clothing the refugees camped at their home for weeks.

"Although we know it is very dangerous, we can't leave this house with all the refugees," said their Australian-educated daughter Christine last week.

On Saturday, Christine and her father fled to the bishop's sprawling residence overlooking Dili Bay.

Son Manuelito, 17, and his friends opted to stay behind on Saturday to protect the frightened villagers cowering in the back rooms.

In the rush to leave the house, Mr Carrascalao left his spare mobile phone battery in his bedroom. After taking dozens of calls from frightened residents and supporters overseas, his handphone faded from range. He waited for news from their house.

It finally came - Manuelito had been shot dead by the militia.

Yesterday, the youth's body lay in the Wirahusada military hospital in Dili with an unknown number of gunshot wounds. His father was barred from reclaiming it for two days.

"There is a procedure for making me wait before I can perform the last rites for my son . . . but there is none to apprehend the killers," Mr Carrascalao said.

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