|Subject: AU: Abort referendum: militia chief
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 11:21:25 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
The Australian 13may99
Abort referendum: militia chief
By BRIAN WOODLEY in Dili, and agencies
EAST Timor's main pro-Indonesian group, which claims to run the militias behind a campaign of terror across the province, demanded yesterday the UN-sponsored referendum on August 8 be abandoned.
The call came after Indonesian President B.J. Habibie announced the formation of a team of ministers to oversee the UN-monitored poll in East Timor.
Basilio Dias Araujo, a spokesman for the FPDK, said the ballot was unnecessary as "we're the ones who live here and we know the feeling of the people".
"We do not want to have the ballot," he said. "We don't want it to occur."
Mr Araujo's comments suggest the militia rampages of recent weeks, including the murders and looting in the capital on Sunday and Monday during the visits of a UN assessment team and Australian diplomats, were aimed at forcing the UN to abandon the poll because of a lack of security.
However, Indonesian Justice Minister Muladi said Co-ordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Feisal Tanjung had been appointed to ensure the recent referendum agreement reached between Indonesia and Portugal in New York was honoured.
The ministerial team includes Mr Muladi, Defence Minister and armed forces chief General Wiranto and Foreign Minister Ali Alatas.
Mr Muladi said the membership showed that the Government was determined to ensure the success of the polls.
In Dili, UN police chief Om Rathor was vague on key details of the East Timor mission when interviewed on Tuesday. He said the deployment of UN police would take "at least one month" to begin and a final decision on whether they would be armed had not been made.
Mr Araujo said a UN presence was unnecessary because unlike Kosovo, where hundreds died daily, "here we have one or two or maybe five" killings per day.
"In the United States they have 25 students shot in one day and they don't send a UN peacekeeping force in there," he said.
Mr Araujo blamed the violence in Dili on "provocative acts" by the pro-independence side.
He claimed Sunday's militia assault on the municipal market and surrounding areas came after two militiamen were stabbed in the market.
This contrasted with claims by Eurico Guterres, the leader of the militia involved, that the provocation involved a militiaman being struck on the head at a militia post.
The results of Monday's violence were still evident yesterday. But communities in Santa Cruz, targeted because the militias were seeking particular activists and because the suburb is considered a bastion of pro-independence sentiment, were slowly returning to normal life.
But hundreds of people who fled their properties were still hiding in the bush.
The FPDK is also lobbying Indonesian authorities to deport the handful of expatriate doctors working at Dili's Motael Clinic, claiming they do not have appropriate visas. Motael is one of three hospitals in Dili, but is favoured by pro-independence casualties.
Yesterday two immigration officials seized the passport of doctor Dan Murphy, an American who has worked at Motael for six months and admits overstaying his tourist visa. A decision on his status is expected to be made on Saturday.