|Subject: ETISC: Getting Away with Murder (Pt 3 of 4
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 18:32:25 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chronology of TNI sponsored Paramilitary and Militia crimes (continued) (This Chronology makes no claims to be complete) 23 March The Indonesian military shoot dead three more civilians in Maliana. 800 people seek refuge in the Maliana church.
Pro-independence leader Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate, told a Portuguese parliamentary commission that Soeharto, "who has a lot of money," was primarily responsible for the current "destabilization campaign" carried out by anti-independence militias. He said funding for the paramilitary groups was being channelled through the military commander of the region, General Simbolon.
24 March Indonesian soldiers from the district military command (Kodim) began shooting arbitrarily into crowds in the Baucau market, resulting in two deaths and numerous injured. They take a group of youths to the Baucau prison of Kai Sahe where shots are later fired at prisoners.
Reports indicate that violence instigated by military-backed militia groups in the Loes region have resulted in scores of people, largely supporters of the pro-independence movement, fleeing across the border into Atambua, in West Timor.
25 March A boy named Mariano Placido is killed in Viqueque. He was a junior high school student. His father was suspected by paramilitary and Indonesian army of working with FALINTIL. The boy was killed because his father escaped from military control.
26 March Three people were killed in Baucau when Indonesian soldiers opened fire while trying to catch a suspected killer in Baucau, police said. The suspect Faria and two passers-by, Ildefonso, 30, and Estefania, a 40-year-old woman, died at the scene.
In Suai three young men were shot and wounded by Laksaur Merah Putih militia members.
Bishop Belo said in recent days priests and male parishioners have been threatened with guns, and a catechist had his nails pulled out in the town of Zumulai by paramilitary forces.
27 March Two new paramilitary groups have been formed: AHI in Ailieu, just south of Dili and Abelai in Same, towards the coast south of Dili. . 28 March At Maubara about 250 men present their homemade guns, bows and arrows, spears and machetes as they are inducted into the troops of Besi Merah Putih. TNI officers and police watch as the district Bupati inspects the troops.
31 March Xanana Gusmao warns of a new bloodbath in his occupied homeland if the international community fails to put pressure on Jakarta to disarm pro-Indonesian militias.
In one of several reports for March, the Catholic Church's Peace and Justice Commission listed four confirmed deaths in Baucau area (three shot by military or militia groups) and nine people missing (eight of them believed killed).
3 April In an interview given in Dili General Damiri, Military Commander of the region, stated that the presence of a UN peace force is not necessary because TNI is capable of maintaining security in the territory.
4 April At 4pm about 18 members of Besi Merah Putih militia came to Dato village on the western side of Liquiça, beat up the village head and destroyed his house because they knew that the villagers support independence. The villagers then attacked the militia force and caused them to flee. The militia hid at the military headquarters (Koramil) in Liquiça. The Liquiça priest Father Rafael dos Santos organised a reconciliation meeting to be held in Dato village the next day.
5 April Around 7am Besi Merah Putih unexpectedly launched major attacks on Dato village and throughout the Liquiça district from two directions - from the village of Liquiça and from the Maubara district. During the attack the militia forces were in the front row and behind them were members of TNI. The militia attacked with arrows, machetes, blocks of wood, samurai swords and stones. Whoever they found was tortured and gashed. TNI started shooting randomly at the resisting community from behind the militia. Four people were killed: Julio, 25, of Dato, Felisberto dos Santos, 27, of Dato, Francisco, 25, of Fatuvou, and Paulino Ribeiro, 28, of Manumeta. At least seven people were wounded by gunshots and scores of others were injured by traditional weapons. Youths ran toward the town of Liquiça. But all over the town at 1pm the sounds of gunshots could be heard. It was the Liquiça KODIM and the police command [polres] doing the shooting and it went on for about one hour. Laurindo, 40, head of the government fisheries office for Liquiça was killed by members of the Maubara command (Koramil) in his home. More than 2000 people fled into the church for refuge. After the shooting, the BMP entered Liquiça, shouting and went to the compound of the Liquiça KODIM. The Battalion Commander of BMP, Manuel de Sousa, said that his troops would occupy Liquiça until those who were wanted by his group surrender to BMP.
Liquiça is completely isolated with overland access difficult and telephone lines cut off.
Xanana Gusmao states "the international community's passivity is forcing me into a decision to authorise the Falintil (Timorese armed resistance) to take all the necessary steps to defend the population and to authorise the people themselves to start a generalised popular uprising against the armed militias that have been killing the civilian population with impunity".
6 April The Emergency Aid Post for Internal Refugees has confirmed that due to attacks throughout East Timor this year there are now nearly 11,000 displaced people in the territory: 1022 persons in Dili, 2518 persons in Liquiça, 1300 persons in Suai, 1149 persons in Maliana and 4838 persons in Ermera who have come from Maubara. In Maliana 1149 persons.
At 4pm Besi Merah Putih and security forces from BTT 143, Kodim 1639 Liquiça, Koramil Liquiça, Police from Liquiça and Brimob (Special police) surrounded the Liquiça church. The police shot tear gas into the church and gunshots into the air which gave a chance for BMP to enter the church grounds and shoot at the people in the church. The people sprayed by the tear gas ran outside of the church with their eyes closed then BMP began to massacre the people with arrows and spears. An eyewitness said "they shot and hacked at people as though they were killing animals. Even when people were raising their arms to surrender, they were still shot and hacked". The names and ages of the 54 victims killed in the church was later compiled by Dili based Yayasan HAK (the Foundation for Legal and Human Rights). They are:
Antonio Do Santos, 24, Hatukesi Jacinta Da Conceicao, 34, Dato Joni Mausoko, 28, Dato Evangelina Goncalves, 14, Dato Juvelina, 16, Dato Salvador, 13, Vatubou Santiago, 12, Vatubou Herminio, 17, Hatukesi Francisco, 30, Dato Rafael Maria, 18, Dato Paulo de Fatima, 53, Daruleten Erminho do Santos, 35, Maumet Fernando da Costa S., 29, Dato Antonio Marcos, 27, Hatukesi Elidio do Santos, 20, Hatukesi Abel Ballo, 26, Vatubou Julito Maria, 18, Metabou Filipe, 17, Metabou Americo Marcal, 40, Darulete Rudolfo do Santos, 15, Darulete Loubato do Santos, 16, Darulete Floriano Santos, 30, Vatuboro Joanico, 35, Dato Abrao, 37, Hatukesi Francisco do Santos, of Guguleur Jose Ribeiro, Guguleur Julio, of Vatubou Manuel da Costa, 30, Dato Thomas de Jesus, 26, Hatukesi Tito Afonso, 29, Gugleur Alsino Goncalves, 45, Gugleur Tiago dos Santos, 17, Liquiça Afonso, 35, Dato Rita, 36 Sejario, 25, Leopa Custori , 31 Alsino, 25, Leopa Antonio Goncalves, 25, Liquiça Jose Mosquita, 25, Leopa Agusto dos Santos Mausinho, 36, Liquiça Paulino Voavida, 22, Villa Adios Thomas de Jesus, 26, Hatukesi Alsino Fernandes, 28, Leopa
Also 35 were wounded and 14 disappeared.
Seven more people were shot dead on the upper floor of the parish house by the army and Brimob. They included Jacinto da Costa Conceicao Pereira, 47, the village head of Dato, Agustinho, 42, from Darulete, Victor, Leovigildo (a junior high school student) and Lucio. An eyewitness hidden with others in the church said that around 6.45pm they saw six Hino trucks taking bodies away from the church. The bodies were thrown on top of the trucks and taken to a destination that remains unknown.
Another five -Americo, 28, Afonso, 26, and Manuel Lisboa, 40, from Dato and Mautersa, 22, and Secar do Carmo, 21, from Vatuboro all died from wounds on 6 April in Dato village. Plus Laurindo da Costa, 45, died in the village of Maumeta/Mercado At the same time, about Rp. 8 million belonging to the Liquiça Catholic school and money for alms was also looted. The BMP took a motorcycle belonging to the church and several other cars and took them to Maubara. The contents of the vicarage were destroyed. The thousands of refugees who had been taking refuge in the church scattered. Liquiça city is inaccessible. All along the main road of Tibar village up to the town of Liquiça the Indonesian flag is displayed. According to one villager, anyone who didn't hang a flag ran the risk of being hacked to death by the army or BMP. Those against the Red and White were forced to flee to the forest or outside of Liquiça.
A great number' of heavily armed Indonesian soldiers disembarked in Dili harbour.
7 April The latest news from Liquiça is that security forces and BMP are still launching attacks on civilians and are no longer discriminating between pro-independence and pro-autonomy civilians.
Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Downer, urged the Indonesian armed forces to disarm East Timorese paramilitary groups in the wake of reported killings in Liquiça.
Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross set out to visit Liquiça but turned back after encountering paramilitaries armed with swords, axes, spears, machetes and bows and arrows. 'They believed they were in danger and so decided not to risk continuing into the town,' a spokesperson said.
An Indonesian army spokesman offered no explanation for the Liquiça massacre beyond saying that "five separatists were killed after opening fire at soldiers" and that the army was ready to face any threat from Mr Gusmao's forces in East Timor.
Xanana Gusmão denied he had declared war on Indonesia two days before, explaining that he expected the resistance fighters to help people defend themselves.
8 April Two truck loads of paramilitary gang members careered up and down the streets in Dili, waving their rifles and spears in the air and doing everything they could to frighten the population.
Military commander Colonel Tono Suratman flew to Maliana to attend a show-of-strength by pro-integration forces.
USA State Department spokesman James Rubin said US officials were "deeply concerned about violence in East Timor, including the latest reported clashes."
9 April Five students from the University of East Timor (UNTIM) who were carrying out their compulsory social work in Suai, were attacked and severely injured by members of Laksaur Merah Putih and Mahidi.
10 April Armed mainly with spears, machetes and home-made guns, some 2,500 militiamen from all over East Timor rallied in Viqueque, some 90 km east of Dili. During a traditional ceremony, the militiamen sacrificed a dog and four people drank its blood as representatives of the militias. Asked why they are attending villagers said because they had been paid.
350 members of Aitarak militia staged a show-of-force parade in front of the governor's office in Dili. Wearing civilian clothes, the militia members marched in pouring rain carrying imitation wooden rifles. "We don't want to make trouble but if pro-independence (groups) attack Dili, go to the warehouse and pick up your guns," the group's leader Eurico Guterres told the militia in an address. "If you want war, we are ready for war. If you want guns, we have guns" he said. Only about six ancient rifles were seen, carried by members of the Indonesian military-recruited auxiliary civilian force, the Kamra.
Many prominent pro-independence figures in the city have received death threats from the militias.
11 April Bishop Belo celebrated mass with the terrified congregation of Liquiça, as a machete-wielding mob of militia circled the church. Police tried in vain to force the militia members to leave the area.
In Suai Alipio Maya Moniz who was abducted on April 5 by Laksaur Merah Putih and TNI personnel, was released severely wounded.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer urged the Indonesian government to take more action to curb the violence in East Timor following the Liquiça massacre.
12 April In Cailaco, 50 kilometres south-west of Dili, the district army commander of Bobonaro district ordered the public execution of five civilians in revenge for the killings by Falintil guerillas of three pro-Indonesia militiamen and two Indonesian soldiers. The civilian bodies were left where they fell for an afternoon, to serve as a warning to others to toe the pro-integration line. The commander also ordered the capture and killing of community leaders thought to be pro-independence, which led to a hunting down and killing of an unknown number of civilians over the next few days.
Two UNTIM students in Suai are kidnapped and later killed by Mahidi. They are Joao Soares Ximenes and Bernardino Simao.
General Wiranto insisted that only five people died in Liquiça. Meanwhile soldiers wiped away all evidence of a massacre there. The bloodied house of the local priest where people were killed has been cleaned and the bullet holes repaired. Then there are the vanishing bodies. Local residents said they saw between three and five trucks take many bodies away. An investigation by the National Commission of Human Rights later this week will be difficult and forensic work next to impossible.
Ermera is very tense after the attack and fatal shooting by pro-Indonesia militia and TNI of CNRT members, local councillor Antonio Lima and Julio. Lima was shot by the army in the market in the village of Gleno. The military claims he tried to throw a grenade at soldiers on patrol. Eyewitnesses say he was shot in cold blood. Most of the young men have fled the area to hide in the forest. Womenfolk left behind have been terrorized, intimidated and forced to fly the Indonesian flag in every house. All military personnel in Ermera are carrying automatic weapons and a grenade on their belts. There is information that between 6 and 14 more people have been shot in Talimoro.
Laksaur Merah Putih and TNI from all the units in the Suai Covalima district have searched houses and tortured villagers, including women, in the area.
Manuel Magalhaes, a member of CNRT, and former Bobonaro Public Works District Head, was arrested along with seven other men on during a joint action by the TNI and Halilintar paramilitaries in the Maliana Sub-district of Bobonaro. During the operation several houses were destroyed by the security forces, including those of the eight men taken into custody. All have since been released except for Manuel. Grave fears are held for his safety. One of men, Jose de Andrade, was beaten unconscious in custody, and needed hospital treatment upon his release.
Rafael, from Malilait village in Bobonaro was arrested at the Tunu Bibi-Maliana bus terminal. It is believed that TNI soldiers from the Bobonaro Military Command were involved in the arrest. His whereabouts are unknown.
Aitarak militia spokesman Mateus de Carvalho said the hundreds of militia members living at the previously abandoned Tropicana hotel in Dili are waiting for money for their wages from the local Government.
14 April Alvaro Barreto is arrested at Kamanasa, Suai, by TNI and Laksaur Merah Putih while riding a bus, and then killed by Mahidi. Jose Fatima is arrested by Laksaur Merah Putih and feared dead.
Paramilitary members said to a student in Suai "You had your demonstrations, now we will have ours. We will kill you." The student said that Mahidi was forcing young people to join their group. He said that as a result all the young people of Suai had fled to the forest.
Aurelio Freitas Ribeiro, leader of students council of Lautem, is now in detention in the headquarter of the local military. Fears are held for his safety. Indonesian Armed Forces butchered 7 men in Maliana. The name of the victims are Domingos da Cruz (21), Armando dos Santos (29), Eurico da Costa (30), Americo Fernandes (32), Tomas Sanches (42), Alarico Carvalho (19), and Moises Guterres (17). They were killed because they were accused of donating some food to Falintil. The situation of Maliana is now highly tense. The telephone lines have been cut off by the military and people are not allowed to visit their families or neighbours.
A confidential Australian embassy report on the killing of East Timorese civilians in the town of Liquiça accuses the Indonesian military of colluding with militia forces in the lead-up to the incident. It also confirms the military failed to take steps to stop the killings in the grounds of the Catholic church in Liquiça on April 6 despite being present in some numbers.
15 April Members of Halilintar militia start on a three-day rampage severely injuring five civilians and destroying houses in the Bobonaro region.
Indonesian troops shot dead five youths and wounded several others near Ermera. Two of the dead have been identified as Mateus Tilman, 24, and Eler Martins, 20.
Novas newspaper was shut down this week by its owners, the Governor Abilio Soares, and his private assistant, Expedito Ximenes. Novas's 14 journalists say they were often warned not to run news that supported the independence camp.
16 April The younger brother of the Indonesian appointed ambassador-at-large for East Timor, Francisco da Lopez, was killed in a Falintil ambush.
Xanana Gusmao promised to order his men to stop launching attacks on Indonesian targets inside East Timor in order to try to restore peace to the territory. Mr Gusmao made the pledge when he met the United States Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth in Jakarta.
Some 150 paramilitaries who were trained by TNI in East Timor to attack pro-independence supporters arrived in Jakarta by ship. They plan to take action against certain East Timorese, including student activists and political leaders. Among their targets are a number of centres used by East Timorese students and youth. Mario Carrascalao, former governor of East Timor and now a member of Habibie's Supreme Advisory Council but increasingly critical of the Indonesian military's rule of East Timor, has been told he is at the top of their death list and is in hiding. Security at a Jakarta residence where Xanana Gusmao is under house arrest has also been supposedly tightened after Indonesian authorities confirmed information about the squad. The paramilitaries who include members of Besi Merah-Putih and Mahidi are divided into two groups one of which is being accommodated in Ragunan. This group has linked up with the well-known hoodlum leader Hercules (who is from Timor) and Captain Eusebio Belo, an army officer who now works with the army intelligence unit BIA. Captain Belo has been supplied with a large sum of money to recruit a militia force from among hoodlums from Eastern Indonesia for use in East Timor. The second group is being accommodated in Kelapa Dua, Bogor which is the location of the headquarters of Brimob, the police special forces. The armed forces is believed to have supplied a billion rupiahs to arm and equip these gangs and supply them with pocket money.
In recent days, the militias have distributed threatening leaflets in Dili aimed at intimidating independence activists. The text called on all houses in the city to fly the Indonesian flag, demanded all local officials not in favour of continued integration of East Timor with Indonesia be sacked and stripped of all benefits, and called on the population to denounce anyone showing any sympathy for the independence movement. Other more threatening leaflets have also appeared. One trumpets a military-style plan dubbed "Operation Total Clean-up," which outlines a series of steps to be taken before mid-May to crush pro-independence sentiment. 275 people including Bishop Belo are believed to be on a death list put together by the Mahidi militia. Nearly all the people working in Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) are on it. Basilio Araujo of FPDK was asked how his people could identify separatists, his reply was simple. "During the reformasi period (following Soeharto's fall last May), they made it clear what they were thinking. Now we have lists."
"Paramilitaries - armed and supported by TNI - have been let loose to murder, rape and torture innocent civilians whose support for East Timorese independence they do not share," Amnesty International said in a statement. "The timing is no coincidence - all the indications suggest that this is a deliberate attempt by the Indonesian military and pro-integration paramilitary groups to destabilise the situation and thus undermine the diplomatic process to find a political solution to the conflict in East Timor."
17 April A pro-autonomy rally began in Dili at 10am outside the front of the Governor's office attended by a number of militia groups including Halilintar, Dadurus, AHI, Ablai, Mahidi, Laksaur Merah Putih, Besi Merah Putih, Makikit, Saka and Jati Merah Putih. Also in attendance were the military and military commander, police representatives, the Governor and pro-autonomy civilians. In the morning members of TNI forced local civilians, including old people and transmigrants to attend the ceremonial part of the rally. Eurico Guterres urged his army trained followers to "conduct a cleansing of all those who have betrayed integration. Capture and kill them, if you need to". He also talked about splitting East Timor in two, with the area west of Dili under some sort of pro-Indonesian government.
Meanwhile Manuel Carrascalao, brother of the former governor, had just arrived from Jakarta was unable to reach his house in Becora, a suburb of Dili, where his family and 143 refugees from the districts of Alas, Liquiça, Maubara, Turiscai and Suai were staying. Fearing attacks by anti-independence militia, Carrascalao went looking for protection from Colonel Tono Suratman who he asked for help to guard his home. Colonel Suratman flatly refused. "The military must remain neutral," he said.
The 1,500 militiamen then rampaged through the city, unchecked by the military, shooting at houses and attacking pro-independence leaders. Manuel Pinto, 45 years, from the village of Bahu was shot and killed by bullets when he stepped off the bus from Baucau at the Becora bus station. Sebastiao Martins, 21 years, was also shot and sustained severe injuries to both legs. Around 1pm in Metiaut village, one group of militia led by the local village head attacked several houses and injured a number of people. Four victims of whom were taken to the Motael church clinic.
Around 2pm one hundred militia stormed Manuel Carrascalao's home. Some family members and the refugees were trapped, unarmed. They lay hugging the floor, screaming and weeping in terror as the shots and rocks blasted through the windows at the front of the house. An AFP journalist and a French radio journalist were inside the house at the time of the attack. They walked out of the house shouting above the noise of the firing that they were foreign journalists. They were roughed up at gunpoint and marched off. Up to 12 people were killed including Manuel's 18-year-old son, Manuelito, his great aunty Carmelinda Guterres aged 89, and his cousin, Marcelina Carrascalao. More than 50 of the refugees fled to police headquarters as they were unable to escape because the militia had blocked off all of the streets. Manuel Carrascalao barged into a meeting between Bishop Carlos Belo and Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews crying "my son is dead!" Tension between the militia and the military became apparent when during the violence Eurico Guterres was heard shouting at Colonel Suratman asking him to leave the territory! Later at the Catholic-run health clinic in Dili, two young men who survived the attack say uniformed and plain-clothes military personnel were involved in the assault. After the rampage and killings at Manuel Carrascalao's house, the militia celebrated into the night with a party.
Around 3pm an attack on the office of East Timor's sole surviving newspaper Suara Timor Timur (STT - Voice of East Timor)left its equipment smashed beyond repair in an estimated $US47,000 worth of damage. Smashed typewriters, broken computers and business cards lay scattered about the office. Not a fax machine or telephone was left intact. All windows and parts of the old printing press had been broken. During the attack one of the militias was heard to say that the next targets would be the NGO offices which have been outspoken about human rights violations in East Timor and have been helping the refugees. The NGOs meant must be Yayasan HAK, KONTRAS, and Caritas. Pro-independence sources say it was a planned assault to make sure the weekend violence was not given extensive local coverage. Staff say the militia was angry with STT because of its strong reporting of the militia massacre in Liquiça and an interview with the CNRT leader David Ximenes two weeks ago. Three weeks ago, accusations of bias led local bosses of the ruling Golkar party to oust the editor of STT, one-time member of the pro-Indonesia Apodeti party, Salvador Ximenes Soares, from a seat in the national parliament. But the newspaper's credentials are not exactly anti-establishment. It is owned by the Tatoli Naroman Foundation, whose members include the Jakarta-appointed provincial governor, Abilio Soares, and local assembly member Mariano Lopez.
Around 4pm a large group of militias raided people's houses in West Dili. During the attack they burned down the house of David Ximenes. The militia also tortured some young men they encountered. At nightfall, the few foreign journalists in Dili had their film confiscated by militiamen carrying wooden staves, and the hotel was ordered not to serve them food.
A witness said that most of the paramilitary members are forced to participate and they committed no violence. There is a small hard core who have been paid who did the shooting and killing. He said that some of them are from West Timor, possibly members of the military.
In Viqueque a young man was hit by a motorcycle ridden by a member of Makikit. He died immediately. When the family of the victim reported the incident to the police, they were threatened with death if they made a case about it.
The UN Secretary-General issued a statement deploring these acts which caused casualties and damage to property and regretting the apparent inability of the Indonesian authorities to control the violence by the militias and to protect the civilian population. Annan said the immediate establishment of a "Peace and Stability Commission" was essential.
18 April There were clashes in Hera village, East Dili. The chief of police Timbul Silaen said one person had died but other sources said that the death toll was seven. Members of BTT (territorial battalion) and Kodim arbitrarily arrested and tortured three students from Hera Polytechnic and two youths from Hera village. During the torture, the security officials accused them of being anti-integration.
The security forces blame the lack of police and troops in Dili for the rampage of the militia when up to 20 people died. Bishop Belo expressed his amazement at the inability of the security forces to control the disturbances in Timor.
At 9am 50 Indonesian soldiers took up position on the hill overlooking Becora's market. Hundreds of pro-independence youth had held members of Mahidi and Aitarak at bay around Becora and Kuluhun areas since yesterday morning. The youth were armed with knives, Molotov cocktails, arrows, piles of rocks, and sling shots. An hour later, armed men wearing civilian clothes arrived in 10 vehicles. "Aitarak militia men," said one witness. The two sides fought and shots were fired. A journalist said she saw one man killed. She said another person might have been killed but she had not seen the body. The army, watching from the hill, did nothing to stop the bloodshed. "We can only tell people to stay in their houses" said one soldier, "we can't protect them from the militia". Then a combined force of soldiers in trucks from battalions 744 and 521 chased the pro-independence men and opened fire. Nine of the young men were wounded plus a passer-by was shot in the neck. Two severely wounded were taken to a military hospital. In the same area East Timorese in the special mobile police (Brimob) opened fire on several truckloads of paramilitary, sending them in retreat to the Battalion 744 army base. Several policemen told residents that they had had family killed by the same paramilitary group in last week's Liquiça massacre. Other witnesses said a Mahidi member shot one of the military by mistake and as a result Brimob shot at militia members.
The Indonesian military not only turned a blind eye to Saturday's militia attacks in Dili but had prior knowledge of the planned targets at the most senior level, diplomatic sources claimed. The sources said the militia attack was discussed at a senior security co-ordination meeting held at the Cilangkap armed forces headquarters in Jakarta, and was attended by General Wiranto, Udayana military commander Major General Adam Damiri and East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman.
A military spokesman, Brigadier-General Sudrajat, blamed the violence in Dili on a call by Xanana Gusmao, two weeks ago, for his supporters to take up arms to protect themselves.
Alexander Downer announced "I am deeply concerned about the pro-integration militia attacks in Dili on 17 April. The Government of Indonesia and its Armed Forces must act decisively to stop the violence. It is imperative that the Armed Forces begin the process of disarming the militias and that those responsible for the violence and killings be brought to account".
19 April 10 people were kidnapped in Suai by Laksaur Merah Putih: 2 from their homes, six as they were catching a plane to Dili and two others as they were driving around. One of them, Abilio Pires, is known to have been killed.
Several thousand militiamen muster in the town of Aileu, south of Dili, where 20 of them drink blood mixed with wine. "In East Timorese tradition, this shows that we are in a serious situation and we are ready to face it," said Basilio Araujo, their spokesman. Militiamen admit that leaders of CNRT are on their hit list. Manuel Carrascalao and another CNRT leader, Leandro Isaac, are now sheltering with the police. Unlike the army, the police have made some effort to save lives.
The government, including the military, maintain that the unchecked killing and burning of houses of independence supporters by militia was sparked by shots fired by independence activists. "I really regret that it has happened, armed clashes between the two groups," Foreign Minister Ali Alatas told journalists. In Jakarta General Wiranto said he had ordered the military and the police "to act firmly" to restore order in East Timor.
Portugal, the former colonial ruler of the territory, was joined by the Foreign Minister of Ireland in demanding UN action over East Timor, while the United States and Australia expressed alarm about the developments and indicated support for early UN involvement.
Indonesia's Justice Minister, Mr Muladi, backed away from a threat to put Xanana Gusmao back in jail because of a call he had made to his supporters to take up arms to protect themselves. Muladi conceded that Gusmao's call was not a reference to war but a "defensive" statement. Despite the attacks against his supporters, Gusmao told Muladi he was still willing to talk with pro-Indonesian leaders.
Hundreds of militiamen and civil servants from the Department of Internal Affairs gathered in front of the Governor's office in a continuation of Saturday's inauguration of the paramilitary. Dili Bupati Domingos Soares publicly announced that Eurico Guterres, the head of the Aitarak militia and vice-commander of all the militias will be in charge of security and stability in East Timor. Residents of Dili were told by the Governor, Abilio Soares, that they will be prosecuted if they speak to the media about their fears. Many shops remained closed and militia armed with knives and rifles, patrolled the streets in the city centre.
An eyewitness spoke of shooting in the afternoon in Dili's eastern suburb of Becora. She said five people were shot. The police office in Becora could not confirm the incident.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would meet Indonesian President B.J. Habibie within the next week to discuss rising violence in East Timor.
"These evil actions in East Timor clearly have the connivance of senior TNI figures in Jakarta. Indeed, they bear a shocking resemblance to Indonesia's operations in 1974 and 1975" wrote long time Indonesia supporter Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian newspaper.
General Wiranto has privately told diplomats in Jakarta that he could easily disarm the militia, but his forces continue to support the attacks, to provide transport, food and water and refuse protection to those on militia hit lists. "In the military's view, East Timor is an inseparable part of Indonesia. That's why they have to defend it whatever it takes to do it," he said.
Getting Away with Murder Part 4
Contact: ETISC, PO Box 651 Nightcliff Darwin NT Australia 0814 tel:+61 8 8948 4458, fax:+61 8 8948 4498, e-mail: email@example.com, web-site: http://www.easttimor.com