Subject: RT: Portugal blames Jakarta for E.Timor attacks
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:51:18 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Portugal blames Jakarta for E.Timor attacks 02:31 p.m Apr 07, 1999 Eastern

By David Brough

LISBON, April 7 (Reuters) - Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio blamed Indonesia on Wednesday for a reported attack on civilians by pro-Jakarta militias and Indonesian troops in East Timor.

``The Indonesian authorities must be seen as responsible before the international community for the wave of violence by armed militias against civilians,'' Sampaio told reporters.

He echoed calls by other leaders including Prime Minister Antonio Guterres for the United Nations to send a force to the former Portuguese colony to bring peace and restore conditions for the East Timorese to decide on their future democratically.

``An effective presence of the U.N. in East Timor is indispensable to guarantee stability in the territory,'' the president said, adding he had discussed the troubled territory with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Sampaio condemned what he called the ``barbarous massacre'' of civilians blamed on pro-Jakarta militias and Indonesian troops in Liquisa district in East Timor on Tuesday.

Journalists in Liquisa said witnesses had seen at least five bodies. East Timor's spiritual leader, Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo, said 25 people had died in the attack.

Pro-independence sources said 45 people had died, but Indonesian armed forces rejected their claim.

``It seems possible that Timorese people were massacred,'' Guterres said. ``It is possible that militias armed by Indonesia are unfolding a campaign of terror aimed at preventing progress of peace talks,'' he added.

Sampaio said the violence by the pro-Jakarta militias in East Timor threatened to derail progress towards achieving a negotiated solution for the territory.

Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations.

A U.N.-sponsored ballot on autonomy or independence for East Timor is due to be held in late July.

That vote was threatened when East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao ended his ceasefire after at least 17 civilians were reported killed in East Timor by anti-independence militiamen backed by Indonesian troops on Monday.

Gusmao remains under house arrest in Jakarta and on Wednesday denied he had declared war on Indonesia, saying his resistance fighters would ``help people'' for defensive purposes.

Sampaio also called on East Timorese to oppose violence.

``It is my duty to appeal to all Timorese of good will to oppose violence with the maturity and self-discipline that has characterised their civilian and political leaders,'' he said.

Back to April Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99