|Subject: AFP: Extra Indonesian police arrive in East
Timor ahead of August ballots
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 1999 08:39:57 -0400
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Extra Indonesian police arrive in East Timor ahead of August ballots
DILI, East Timor, June 5 (AFP) - A batch of 448 Indonesian police disembarked here Saturday as fresh reinforcements ahead of a UN-monitored ballot to he held here in August to determine the territory's future. The Indonesian navy ship "Teluk Manado" which had anchored off Dili Bay on Friday, docked in the port's harbour early Saturday, disgorging police from the Brimob elite police unit.
"All these Brimob members are from Jakarta ... they will be deployed throughout East Timor and are here to strengthen the power of the regional (East Timor) police and support the UN operations," Brigadier General J.T. Sitorus, an advisor from the national police headquarters told AFP.
The policemen, each with rifles and anti-riot gear that included shields, battons and helmets, and a blue badge on their shirt, filed into awaiting trucks.
A leading officer carried a white flag emblazoned with two yellow doves and the blue UN logo, and the words "Indonesian Police Contingent for Lorosae, East Timor 1999" in Indonesian.
Lorosae is the East Timorese name for the territory.
"There are 448 (policemen) now, the next group will arrive soon, as soon as the Indonesian General Election is completed," Sitorus said.
He said the total police strength in East Timor, after all reinforcements have arrived would stand at some 6,300 men, including 5,000 from the local force.
All reinforcements had undergone anti-riot training and some of the officers had served in UN peacekeeping mission abroad, including in Slovenia and Namibia.
"These officers must act with impartiality and professionalism ... if somebody reports something to us, we do not ask them whether they are pro-integration or not," Sitorus added.
He was refering to the pro-Indonesia groups which have been involved in increasing violence with their pro-independence rivals since Jakarta announced in January that it may let go the former Portuguese colony it invaded in 1975, if the people there reject an offer of autonomy under Jakarta.
The population of East Timor will be consulted through a ballot on August 8 on whether they accept or reject the autonomy deal which was signed by Jakarta and Lisbon at the United Nations on May 5.
The United Nations continues to regard Lisbon as the administrator of East Timor, which Indonesia annexed in 1976.
The United Nations is to deploy some 600 personnel in East Timor to help prepare the ballot and ensure it is conducted in a free and honest manner.