Subject: ETO - Numbers and identification of Indonesian Military in ET
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:20:26 -0400
From: Comissão para os Direitos do Povo Maubere <>

East Timor Observatory / Observatório Timor Leste / Observatoire Timor-Oriental

All peoples have the right to self-determination... all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence. (Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples - UN Gen.Ass. Resolution 1514, 14/12/1960)

Reference: FA09-1999-07-06eng

Subject: Numbers and identification of Indonesian Military in East Timor see

Summary: Fresh announcements by the Indonesian authorities of troop withdrawals from East Timor, and the presence of military ‘liaisons officers’ in the UN mission there (UNAMET) call for a more detailed scrutiny of the number of soldiers in the territory and their identification. There is a huge difference between 5,000 troops (TNI) referred to by the military commander of East Timor and 29,000 ABRI (25,000 TNI and 3,800 police), which is the figure that appears in the ‘secret’ military statistics revealed in late 1998. Since that time, not much has changed: while 1,400 TNI have left East Timor, 1,300 police have entered. This was a step forward, albeit still a very small one, towards the "redeployment" requested by Kofi Annan to secure a "free and impartial consultation" for the people of East Timor. As military presence has, and will have, preponderant influence on the extent of the ballot’s impartiality and freedom, the East Timor Observatory decided to make some detailed data on Indonesia’s military presence in the territory available through its website.

1. Since June 1998, the Indonesian military authorities have been announcing the progressive withdrawal of troops from East Timor.
2. In late July last year, 100 Indonesian and foreign reporters were transported from Jakarta to Dili in a military aircraft to witness the withdrawal of 400 soldiers. In the days that followed, other troops left, until a total of 1,300 men had been shipped out. Meanwhile, 400 "non-combatant" troops were sent in. According to Suratman, there were 10,700 military left in East Timor (AP, Dili, 8.8.98). Minister Ali Alatas said that only five or six battalions, or about 6,000 men, remained (AFP, Sidney, 26.10.98).
3. In October 1998, "secret" military statistics, smuggled out of the regional military command (Korem) in Dili, revealed the presence of about 18,000 ABRI. This number, however, did not include 1,600 PNS (civil servants with military training, working for ABRI) and 2,100 Wanras (auxiliary troops) (see The Indonesian Military in East Timor: the Secret documents of Korem 164, John Roosa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, November 1998, and East Timor Observatory’s FA03). The 18,000 ABRI included 3,800 police. (Until April 1999, the police belonged to ABRI. After that date the military came to be called TNI).
4. In November 1998, a fresh information leak revealed that 5,000 Indonesian soldiers had entered in East Timor between August and November 1998. These reinforcements had not been registered on the statistics divulged in October because these particular soldiers were operating under direct command of the SGI (military intelligence services). The same source estimates that the number of troops under SGI command already stationed in East Timor (before the arrival of the reinforcements) was 6,000. The total number of these additional troops in the territory was, therefore, approximately 11,000 men (see East Timor Observatory FA07).

The facts:
1. On 28 June 1999, Col. Suratman announced the withdrawal of one battalion (1,000 men). The colonel stressed, however, that no political conclusions should be drawn from this fact as they were only leaving because their 10-month commission of service had ended (Kompas, Dili, 28.6.99).
2. Since early June, when the progressive withdrawal programme started, 2,000 men had left, said Suratman (idem).
3. About 5,000 TNI should work with the Indonesian police and UNAMET to help create a favourable atmosphere for the ballot in August. These 5,000 men belong to the 5 territorial battalions (regional commands and services) and the 2 local battalions (ibidem).

1. By referring to the withdrawal of one battalion that was on a temporary (10-month) mission, Col. Suratman was revealing two facts which, until then, had been either unknown or denied: · the presence in East Timor of ‘outside’ combatant troops (PENUGASAN forces) other than the personnel normally stationed in the province. · the entry of military reinforcements at a time when the Indonesian authorities were insisting that they were reducing troop numbers in East Timor: if the troops’ 10-month commission ended in June, then it must have started in August 1998, and at that time, the authorities were repeatedly denying the claims that fresh troops were being covertly sent in to East Timor: "ABRI deny that they have sent troops to substitute those they are withdrawing", the official news agency Antara said (AFP, Jakarta, 12.9.98)
2. When speaking of the withdrawal of 2,000 men since June (only the withdrawal of 400 men on 5 June and the battalion of about 1,000 men on 28 June were made public), Suratman failed to mention the fact that, in the same period, at least 1,300 police (500 on 5 June and 821 on 23 June) had entered. The substitution of troops by police is part of the "redeployment" envisaged under the UN Secretary-General’s Memorandum, annexed to the 5 May 1999 agreements signed in New York, to ensure a free and impartial ballot.
3. To assess the numbers given by the authorities and the impact of the withdrawal, the true numbers of military personnel present in East Timor must necessarily be analysed. This presence is nearly five times higher than what the military commander of East Timor is claiming. The detailed list of military personnel, categorised by command, department and battalion is available on Internet at the East Timor Observatory’s website. a) In November 1998, according to the Dili Korem’s personnel statistics, the picture was as follows: · ORGANIK – troops belonging to or normally stationed in "the province of East Timor". Members of the ORGANIK ABRI were distributed between the regional command (Korem, 364 men), the 13 district commands (Kodim, with a total of 3,975 men, each district command having between 73 – as in the case of Ambeno-Oecussi – and 593 men – as in the case Baucau), the various military services (622 men), the operational battalions 744 and 745 (1,369 men), and the police (3,788 men, 621 of whom were BRIMOB riot control police). To these 10,118 ABRI, 929 Wanras (auxiliary troops) must be added, as well as 1,574 PNS (civil servants with military training, in the service of armed forces). Names of the officers (when known) have been included on the ABRI personnel lists that appear on the website, as well as the names of the 470 military chiefs of the "Sucos" (or Desa): the "babinsas" (information dating from November 1998). · PENUGASAN – troops brought in from Indonesian provinces for a temporary service mission in East Timor. The following PENUGASAN forces were under the command of the Dili Korem: infantry battalions 144, 315, 401, 512, 642; various "task forces", Satgas Garuda-1 and Satgas Tribuana-V, and also the Brimob companies, KI-5127, KI-5135 and KI-5151m making a total of 7,774 ABRI and 1,200 Wanras. a) PENUGASAN forces controlled by the SGI included battalions Yonifer 521, Linud 700, Yonifer 123 and 511; companies of the 741, 742 and 743 battalions, and also 400 Kopassus Group-4, plus an elite secret services force, totalling 4,938 men who had entered between August and November 1998. The battalion whose withdrawal Suratman announced in late June could be one of the first three, that entered in August 1998. There are reports that the 600 soldiers of battalions 741, 742 and 743, whose members are natives of the islands near East Timor, were integrated in battalions 744 and 745 which were then composed of about 700 men each, when the number for a battalion is about 1,000 men. b) The Agreement regarding security, annexed to the 5 May Agreement made the Indonesian police "solely responsible for the maintenance of law and order" before the popular consultation. So what are the reasons behind maintaining such a high military presence? And what will be the consequences? Why are the Indonesian authorities going to such lengths to hide this reality? It is the duty of the UN to try to answer these questions because, to a very large degree, the "free and impartial" ballot depends on the answers.

Note: The East Timor Observatory would like to receive any information on numbers and dentification of Indonesian military forces in East Timor which might help complete and update this table.

Observatory for the monitoring of East Timor’s transition process a programme by the ‘Comissão para os Direitos do Povo Maubere’ and the ecumenical group ‘A Paz é Possível em Timor Leste’ Coordinator: Cristina Cruz
Rua Pinheiro Chagas, 77 2ºE - 1069-069 Lisboa - Portugal ph.: 351 1 317 28 60 - fax: 351 1 317 28 70 - e-mail:

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