Subject: SMH: Guerillas demand clamp on army
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 08:42:26 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Sydney Morning Herald 21/06/99


Guerillas demand clamp on army

By MARK DODD Herald Correspondent in Dili

A senior leader of the East Timorese independence movement has called for Indonesian soldiers to be restricted to specific locations as a precondition to separatist fighters giving up their arms.

Restricting troops to specific locations has been tried with mixed success on other United Nations-brokered peacekeeping missions.

The independence leader David Ximenes, in hiding in Dili, said it was a mistake to compare Falintil guerillas with pro-Jakarta militias.

"Disarmament is for the militias because the militias were armed by the military," he said.

"Falintil cannot be disarmed because Falintil is a consequence of the Indonesian Army being here." If Indonesian troops were restricted to specific locations, Falintil would disarm, he said.

Defence analysts estimate Falintil's armed strength to be no more than 1,000 fighters carrying 1970s-vintage NATO assault rifles and Indonesian-made light automatic weapons captured during ambushes and raids on army posts.

East Timor's rival factions signed an agreement late on Friday for an end to violence ahead of a planned August referendum on self-determination for this violence-prone half-island territory of 850,000 people.

Like a similar agreement brokered by Indonesia's Defence Minister, General Wiranto, last April, the latest accord did not specify a timetable for a ceasefire or disarmament.

The joint accord was signed by the East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao, serving a 20-year sentence but recently released into house arrest in Jakarta. Others included Leandro Isaac, leader of a pro-independence umbrella group; pro-Jakarta militia leader Joao Tavares, and Domingos Soares, a local government leader opposed to independence.

In 1992 in Cambodia, restricting troops to specific locations was a partial success until the hardline Khmer Rouge guerilla faction rejected the peace agreement it had earlier signed.

Pro-royalist forces and troops under the command of Vietnamese-installed premier Hun Sen, quickly disengaged from their areas when Khmer Rouge rebels went back on the offensive. Despite the vague wording of the communiqué, the UN Assistance Mission to East Timor, anxious to hear some good news for a change, welcomed the agreement and hoped it might bring a measure of stability.

"It's a positive first step and a good development. We're aware a great deal of work needs to be done to bring it to fruition and much co-operation and goodwill needs to be shown by both sides. And we hope it translates into peace and stability on the ground," spokesman Mr David Wimhurst said.

Mr Wimhurst has confirmed UN teams are investigating the shooting deaths on Friday of two men in Maubara, 40 kilometres west of Dili. One woman was seriously injured in the attack.

It is believed all three were pro-independence supporters acting with militia support.

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