|Subject: RT: Australia, Red Cross to investigate
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:47:13 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo:
April 8, 8:46 p.m. ET
Australia, Red Cross to investigate Timor killings
CANBERRA, April 9 (Reuters) - Australian diplomats and the Red Cross will travel to East Timor to conduct independent investigations into reports that at least 25 villagers were massacred by anti-independence paramilitaries.
Australia's ambassador to Indonesia John McCarthy on Friday said the independent inquiries had been enouraged by Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) chief General Wiranto.
``I got authority without any qualification at all from Wiranto because he believes we have a right to try and find out for ourselves what the story is,'' McCarthy told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio from Jakarta.
McCarthy said the International Committee of the Red Cross had also been given permission to travel to East Timor to investigate killings in the town of Liquisa.
East Timor spiritual leader Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo has said that at least 25 people were killed in the town of Liquisa when militiamen attacked on Tuesday.
Indonesia said the number killed was five. There have also been conflicting accounts of whether the Indonesian armed forces were involved.
``He (Wiranto) accepted that there were conflicting accounts and that's why he was willing, and in fact, sought to encourage an investigation which had a major element of independence to it,'' McCarthy said.
There has been an upsurge in violence in East Timor this week following a call to arms and the ending of a ceasefire by rebel leader Xanana Gusmao on Monday.
East Timorese have waged a 23-year secessionist rebellion since Indonesia annexed the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1976, an action not recognised by the United Nations. Jakarta has offered East Timor a July vote on autonomy, saying if that is rejected the bloodied province will be granted independence.