|Subject: AFP: UN mission in East Timor denies shots
fired from one of its cars
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:50:10 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
UN mission in East Timor denies shots fired from one of its cars
DILI, East Timor, July 7 (AFP) - The UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) on Wednesday denied Indonesian police allegations that shots were fired from one of its cars during an attack by pro-Indonesian militia on an aid convoy.
In Jakarta, UNAMET chief Ian Martin also called on the Indonesian military to prevent further threats from the militias, including on the mission's personnel.
UNAMET spokesman Hiro Ueki said there had been allegations that shots were fired from a UNAMET vehicle during Sunday's militia attack in Liquisa.
Police also alleged that members of the Falintil -- the armed wing of the East Timorese pro-independence movement -- were in the convoy, and that a gun was seen pointing from inside one of the cars, which was found later in a police search of the vehicle.
"After an exhaustive investigation, UNANMET categorically denies these allegations. No shots were fired from any vehicles, there were no Falintil inside the car, nobody pointed a gun from inside the car, this car was full of local humanitarian workers who had fled from the initial attack," Ueki said.
Martin echoed Ueki's denial after meeting for about one hour with Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto
The UNAMET chief refuted "any suggestions that UNAMET personnel carried weapons and indeed any suggestions that weapons were fired from the humanitarian convoy."
"The only shots that were fired were fired from the BMP (Besi Merah Putih) militias," he added.
Martin said he had asked the Indonesian military to take certain measures, including action against those known to be responsible for the attacks.
He had also asked for measures "to ensure that pro-integration militias are no longer able to operate in a way that is threatening to our personnel and to others" and discussed the importance of a laying down of arms.
Deputy military spokesman Brigadier General Sudrajat, speaking to the press after the meeting, said a fresh batch of 1,200 police personnel will be dispatched to East Timor along with vehicles.
He did not give a date but said a similar number of army troops would be pulled out from the territory.
Ueki said here one UN car was repeatedly hit with sticks, machetes and rocks, its rear windshield and side windows smashed, and the passengers attacked by the militia.
"Within minutes of arrival at the Liquisa police station, the UNAMET officer who was driving the car handed to the police a homemade pistol which had been dropped into the car by one of the attackers who was on the outside of the car," Ueki said.
"The gun was not found during a search of the vehicle by police officers, it was handed to the police by the UNAMET officer voluntarily," he added.
East Timor police chief Colonel Timbul Silaen on Monday quoted reports as saying police in Liquisa, some 30 kilometres (25 miles) west of Dili, had confiscated a gun from a UNAMET official in the convoy.
Silaen was also quoted by the Antara state news agency as saying a witness had said he had been shot at by someone inside a UNAMET vehicle.
A driver was seriously injured and six people are missing after the attack on the truck convoy returning to Dili after dropping humanitarian aid to a refugee-filled village.
The attack has raised concerns at the United Nations of a further delay a UN-organized poll on the future of the Indonesian-ruled territory.
UN chief Kofi Annan will determine on July 13 whether security conditions permit the poll to go ahead in August, two weeks later than originally planned.
Martin was also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Ali Alatas later Wednesday, Ueki said.
But a foreign ministry source said Alatas would be busy addressing a parliamentary session and that since Martin's visit was focused on security issues, there was no need for the two to meet.
East Timorese will be asked whether they want the former Portuguese territory, annexed by Jakarta in 1976, to remain part of Indonesia or to become independent.