|Subject: SMH: Jakarta unleashes military enforcers;
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 14:49:22 EDT
Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, August 28, 1999
Jakarta unleashes military enforcers
By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Dili
Indonesia has suddenly replaced senior military commanders in riot-torn East Timor with top-level officers believed to have been picked by the Defence Minister, General Wiranto.
Senior Western diplomatic sources say intense international pressure is behind the recalls - which include Major-General Zacky Anwar, an intelligence officer based in the territory's capital, Dili.
As well, two senior military officers in command of district posts in strife-torn Suai and Maliana are also believed to have been reassigned ahead of Monday's vote to decide the territory's future.
An Indonesian military delegation of 25 senior officers led by an army commander close to General Wiranto was expected to take over by the weekend, a senior diplomat said.
The changes come as efforts to pressure the United Nations into sending armed troops into East Timor failed, leaving the Indonesian military in control.
The UN decision came despite a scathing attack overnight by its Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, in which he said Thursday's militia violence in Dili had left him "appalled".
At least five people were confirmed dead, more than 12 injured, and property destroyed.
Thousands of people rushed to escape the disputed territory after continuing violence in Dili.
Families carrying mattresses, chairs, tables and other household goods jammed gang-planks to get aboard the last passenger ferry to leave Dili's wharf.
Independent observers reported that roads out of East Timor into the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur were also crowded with families fleeing three days ahead of Monday's vote.
In Dili, the head of the UN Mission Assistance in East Timor (UNAMET), Mr Ian Martin, said yesterday that although he believed there was a new willingness in Jakarta to act against militia violence, this was "not translating into the conduct of Indonesian security forces on the ground".
In Canberra, government sources acknowledged that Australia may have to send in armed troops to rescue Australians and other foreigners if the Indonesian military was unable to provide protection for the operation.
But they emphasised that if evacuation became necessary in the next days or weeks, it would be carried out at UN request and only with Indonesian consent.
A senior Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sulaiman Abdulmanan, asked about remarks by the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, said yesterday: "We don't need international pressure. We have already decided ourselves to solve this problem."
He said Indonesian authorities were working to implement the terms of an agreement with the UN for conducting the ballot.
Mr Howard had warned that the world would be monitoring Indonesia's handling of the results after the ballot.
A senior diplomatic source in Dili who wished to remain anonymous said the decision to recall General Anwar was made by General Wiranto.
General Anwar, a career intelligence officer serving as senior military liaison to the UN mission, left Dili on Monday for Jakarta and has not returned, the diplomat said.
A colleague of General Anwar said last weekend that the staff officer, who has a long and controversial involvement in East Timor, said he had been ordered to return to Jakarta.
Meanwhile, credible reports indicated that General Anwar would be replaced by the head of Kopassus (Special Forces Command), a close colleague of General Wiranto.
When contacted for comment, Indonesian military sources in Dili declined to confirm or deny the developments.
"Our thoughts are this - Wiranto is on line to try and stop this violence," one diplomat source said. "He's got all this international pressure and he wants to be [Indonesia's] next vice-president."
In a surprise move, Kopassus Colonel Tono Suratman was replaced last week by Colonel Mohamed Noer Muis as East Timor's military commander.
Overnight Mr Annan called on Indonesian authorities to arrest those responsible for Thursday's bloody mayhem and reaffirmed the determination of UNAMET to hold the ballot.
Human rights officials based in Dili reported scores of residents fleeing Kuluhun and Becora to escape militia retribution although calm was restored yesterday.
After militia threats, the localstaff of the UN refugee agency(UNHCR) fled yesterday, leaving the Dili office manned byone expatriate.