who is wiranto?what he look like?what he did in timor?
Tuesday September 23, 2008
Indonesia’s Wiranto wants wealth spread more widely
By Olivia Rondonuwu and Ed Davies
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Retired Indonesian general Wiranto, a controversial figure over rights abuses in East Timor who looks set to run for president next year, said his country needs to spread its wealth among the poor.
The former army chief, who has denied any wrongdoing in East Timor, was indicted by a U.N. panel over the bloodshed surrounding Dili’s 1999 independence vote, when about 1,000 East Timorese died.
That episode had been resolved and would not be a hindrance to his own political ambitions or those of his party, Wiranto said in an interview at the headquarters of his Hanura (Peoples’ Conscience) party.
“That’s just a part of left-over problems that has been resolved government-to-government,” he said, referring to a joint Indonesian and East Timor truth commission which blamed Indonesia’s military for rights violations.
The commission had no prosecution powers.
“If that was a problem, then I couldn’t have been an official presidential candidate in 2004,” he said.
Wiranto, 61, stood in the last elections as a presidential candidate for the Golkar Party, the late president Suharto’s political machine. He finished behind President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Wiranto, who appears to be pushing a nationalist and populist agenda, said Indonesia’s economic policies should be more independent and the poor were not benefiting enough from rises in world prices of natural resources such as coal and palm oil.
“My view is at the moment there are a lot of riches not used for the maximum benefit of the people,” he said.
“And to be frank, Indonesia is now in a position of a loser in this global competition,” said Wiranto, who is known as an accomplished singer and once made an album of love songs.
Asked about his solutions, he declined to map out specific policies, saying he did not want to release them yet.
He said Indonesia should manage its resources more independently but did not elaborate.
Yudhoyono’s administration has suffered some criticism for not capitalising enough on rising commodity prices and has also struggled to attract more foreign investment in areas such as mining.
Indonesia hosts global resource firms such as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold but has seen little new investment in recent years.
After the 2004 vote, Wiranto broke ties with Golkar after a power struggle and formed Hanura in late 2006.
Wiranto, who is Javanese like most of Indonesia’s presidents, declined to confirm whether he would stand for president again as many people expect. He said his performance in the 2004 election showed he had a core support base on which to rely.
“I garnered more than 26 million votes, or about 22 percent, and that’s the foundation I have been developing on ever since to build the party,” said Wiranto, whose career took off when he became Suharto’s adjutant in 1989.
He rose to become military chief and defence minister.
Although he initially survived the fallout from the East Timor violence, he was later fired as security minister by former President Abdurrahman Wahid in 2000.
Hanura, which has been polling at around 7-11 percent support in recent opinion polls, aimed to be one of the top five parties in parliamentary elections in April next year and may look at forming coalitions nearer that time, Wiranto said.
Lieutenant Colonel Supadi (second military commander of East Timor) in answer to questions about civilian deaths near Suai, denied that TNI had any involvement. He admitted, however, that TNI had been recruiting and arming militias to support the pro-integration stand and had handed out weapons to the Mahidi militia, who number about 1,200, saying that they had been given guns and rifles captured from Fretilin as well as SP1 and SP2 rifles which were, until recently, used by the Indonesian military. Col. Supadi admitted that the two-week training that had been given to the locally hired militia members might have been inadequate. “They are quick to be emotional”, Supadi said.
The Indonesian Armed Forces Commander and Minister for Defence, General Wiranto, denied TNI recently gave guns to civilian militias.
In Maubara about 15 members of Besi Merah Putih gang stopped a car in which a Liquiça public servant was riding and threw stones at the passengers. They managed to save themselves but their car was confiscated and is now being used by members of BMP gang for their operations.
Cancio Lopes, the commander of Mahidi told the BBC that he led last month’s attack near Suai using automatic weapons supplied less than four weeks previously by the army. He said that he received 20 Chinese-made SKS rifles from the local military headquarters on 30 December. ‘We used the SKS rifles together with three M-16s we had for the attack’. He said the military had already allowed him to use M-16 rifles captured earlier from anti-Indonesian rebels. Mr Lopes then described how he led an attack on 26 January near the town of Suai, killing six people, including a pregnant woman and a 15-year-old schoolboy. Two days earlier his group killed another four people suspected of working with the rebels.
Major General Adam Damiri, chief of the Eastern Indonesia regional military command said the armed forces have begun handing out limited supplies of weapons to civilian recruits in East Timor because it was necessary to help maintain peace and order in areas that have been frequently attacked by the rebels. He denied allegations the weapons were handed out to enforce integration.
Colonel Tono Suratman, military commander of East Timor, said the army would recruit 1,000 East Timorese and train them as a new civil militia (Wanra) but insisted they would not be armed. He said “this is part of the policy by the central government to maintain security. The recruits are to be stationed with police in isolated villages considered security risks”. Suratman said recruits would be given a one-year contract and a monthly salary of 200,000 rupiah (US$24) Another officer said “they will only be given clubs and handcuffs.”
The Bishop of East Timor, Nobel Peace Laureate, Bishop Carlos Belo and Xanana Gusmao, the jailed leader of CNRT, call for the disbanding of armed civilian groups in East Timor.
The political spokesman for the CNRT in Dili, Francisco Cepeda, said that many people do not want to join militias but they were just picked up on military trucks and taken to Dili without being told what was happening.
Besi Merah Putih (BMP) has been behind many of the attacks on the villages around Maubara which have resulted in the flight of the majority of the residents (especially the male youths) to Dili. The victims of their attacks have tended to be those people suspected of being pro-referendum, but many of their victims have been ordinary villagers who don’t understand why they are attacked, including the head of the village of Fatuboro. Apart from attacking and raiding villages, this group loots the property owned by the victims.
A Western diplomat in Jakarta worries that “they’re little more than thugs.”
Colonel Mudjiono admits 100 rifles were distributed to integrationists in January to even the odds between them and Fretilin guerrillas. Bishop Belo doesn’t buy the self-defence line, pointing out that the larger, better-equipped Indonesian military is more than a match for Fretilin. Belo complains “what are the professional soldiers doing? What are they getting paid for? In 15 years here, I’ve never heard of Fretilin raiding a village and causing 6,000 people to flee”.
Benendito de Jesus, vegetable vendor, 25 years old was shot in Dili. He died immediately from a gunshot wound in his head. Mahidi members were driving around in a Toyota Kijang and when they passed Bairro-Pite area, they started shooting at random. This caused the people in the area to panic, become angry and run after the Toyota. When the residents reached the Brimob (mobile police brigade) barracks, the Brimob officers and other police officers, fully armed, blocked their way. Not long after someone from inside the barracks shot into the crowd. One of the bullets struck Benendito in the head.
Xanana Gusmao demanded immediate and total disarmament of the militias saying they are simply death squadrons which intimidate, scare and kill the population.
East Timor police chief Timbul Silaen announced that Benendito de Jesus was allegedly shot dead by an Indonesian policeman who is now under investigation. Other sources say that the perpetrator of the shooting was not a member of Brimob, but a Mahidi member hiding inside the barracks.
Members of Besi Merah Putih gang along with TNI (Koramil 03 Maubara and BTT 143) troops attacked Guiso village in the Maubara district and arrested a number of people including women and children. Those who were arrested were brought to the BTT 143 post and tortured.
All the sub-district heads and village heads in the Bobonaro district received an order from the commander of Halilintar militia, Joao Tavares, to attend a meeting. At the meeting, Tavares said that he would fire them all if they did not mobilize the masses to attend a conference on February 19 in Balibo. The Bobonaro district TNI commander also spoke at the meeting. He said that if the military wing of the CNRT was Falintil, then the military wing of the (recently formed pro-integration group) FPDK was Halilintar, Mahidi, Naga Merah, and Besi Merah Putih.
A spokesman for the armed forces in Jakarta, General Sudjarat confirms that guns were provided to pro-Indonesian groups in East Timor. He says “we only give the weapons to those we trust. These people are supposed not to kill civilians, they are supposed to protect the civilians against Fretilin guerrillas”.
David Dias Ximenes, deputy of CNRT in Dili meets the Deputy District Police Chief, Colonel Muafi Sahudji, to make an appeal to end the two-month-old clashes in the Maubara district. Ximenes told the press afterwards that TNI seem to be giving a free hand to pro-integration groups to terrorize and intimidate pro-independence groups. “The police is constantly patrolling in Maubara. Why are the “red white iron” groups (allowed to) carry sharp weapons, intimidate the public, destroy homes and possessions, cut hair of young men and injure people with spears. They are not arrested or called up by the court”.
The Indonesian government and TNI was urged by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to disarm the TNI-trained civilian militia in East Timor who are allegedly armed with loaded weapons. “The situation could broaden the conflict with further bloodshed and could jeopardize negotiation efforts,” said ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga, in Jakarta. “From the report which was sent to us, we know many sad stories because of the existence of this paramilitary group. The paramilitary are hard to control because they don’t have such a neat command chain,” Sommaruga said.
|General Wiranto (centre) is head of the Indonesian armed forces, seated between Bishop Basilio do Nascimento and Bishop Belo. “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.”|
The threats two days ago by Halilintar leader, Joao Tavares, to the jobs of officials in Bobonaro pays off. About 5,000 people attend the Balibo meeting designed to mark the start of a campaign by the pro-autonomy forces.
Militia groups, angry about Australia’s policy shift on East Timor, (which now supports independence for East Timor if that is what the Timorese choose) faxed a signed letter from their Jakarta hotel to all foreign embassies in Jakarta, in which they threatened to kill Australian diplomats and journalists, whom they accused of having published distorted information. Eurico Guterres, leader of Aitarak militia is one of the signatories.
The spokesman of the East Timor police, Captain Widodo announces registration for a second batch of 250 civilian militiamen to assist its operations. Registration for “Keamanan Rakyat (People’s Security or Kamra)” for East Timor will open on March 1. “They are not equipped with firearms but are only using equipment such as handcuffs, batons, whistles and shields,” Widodo said.
Halilintar arrested and brutalized at least 6 residents of the town of Atabae. The victims are taken to the local army headquarters (Koramil) after being beaten. Halilintar, armed with automatic weapons, begin patrolling at night in Atabae and its environs.
Members of the Besi Merah Putih begin checking travellers on the roads in the Liquiça district. They are searching for anyone appearing to be a pro-independence activist.
The local district civilian head opened fire on about 200 pro-independence villagers after calling them to a meeting at Guiso village in Maubara. He was backed by members of the armed paramilitary groups Besi Merah Putih and Halilintar. The residents defended themselves and three members of BMP were killed and five others seriously injured. Soldiers of the 143rd Battalion intervened in the conflict to defend the BMP squad, injured 4 villagers and then burnt down 39 houses.
In an attack on the village of Fatuvou, near Maubara in the Liquiça district, not only did the Besi Merah Putih and Rajawali militias take part, but also Indonesian soldiers from the Maubara Koramil (military command) and from Battalion 143. Four civilians were shot and wounded and 18 were arrested. Soldiers prevented a Caritas ambulance from Dili from reaching Fatuvou to help. The ambulance was only allowed through after some days.
A militia squad killed a liurai (traditional chief) named Mendes in Balibo. He had reportedly refused to attend a meeting organized by the group.
Four civilians in Loes are wounded by Mahidi.
Militiamen fire on dozens of pro-independence supporters in Dili, killing three people and injuring several others, One of the dead is Francisco da Conceicao Hornai, 23. Their bodies are taken to the ICRC office. The confrontation broke out during a funeral near an army barracks at Becora on the outskirts of Dili. A witness said the gunmen belonged to a local para-military group that has received weapons from the Indonesian military. The group was led by Domingos Berek who is a member of the army. Two Portuguese journalists, Jose Maria and Jose Alberto Carvalho of SIC, a private television news station, were beaten by assailants during the shooting incident.
UN envoy Tamrat Samuel met pro-independence supporters in Dili in an effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement.
Armed civilians supporting integration within Indonesia will be welcome to stay in East Timor once the territory becomes independent, a delegation of East Timor traditional chiefs guaranteed during a reception at the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon.
Basilio Araujo of the FPDK tells journalists while in Jakarta that the militias have 10,000 weapons. “They are paramilitaries and we are a non-government organisation. But we are all pro-integration and they will protect us,” he said.
At a gathering, the chief commander of East Timor’s pro-integration paramilitary groups, Joao Tavares, repeated his threat that the life of at least one Australian diplomat would have to be sacrificed to prevent the deaths of East Timorese in a civil war being caused by Australia. Mr Tavares, claims to speak only for his 2,400 men in Atabae, an area with a population of 87,000. Also present is Eurico Guterres. Atabae has recently been the scene of roadblocks and harassment of pro-independence supporters, some of whom have been attacked with knives and beaten.
In Dili independence supporter, Jose Luis Varaderas, said “these paramilitaries have no popular support. The Indonesians bribe people and give them guns. Life here is hard. If you have a starving family you do it, but the people here just want peace.”
It has been reported that Indonesian government had already invested 26 billion rupiahs (US$3 million) in arming the paramilitaries to contrive “civil war” in East Timor. Also that for months the Indonesian military had been landing large numbers of troops in West Timor and trucking them East with weapons. When they return, they no longer had weapons.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, called the recent flow of arms into East Timor “very disquieting”, but said he felt a war could be avoided.
Xanana Gusmao condemned a group of pro-Indonesian East Timorese currently staying in Jakarta and accused them of being paid by “an unknown party” to wage war against pro-independence East Timorese. “They have been staying in a five-star hotel for one month” Gusmao said of the group. Gusmao blamed clashes between pro- and anti-Indonesian East Timorese, which have claimed several lives in the past month, on a “third party”, the SGI. He called for the SGI to be withdrawn from East Timor.
Basilio Araujo of FPDK says the United Nations should oversee the disarmament of all armed groups in the territory as soon as possible. “The pro-independence groups are saying the whole of the East Timorese people want independence. And the paramilitary groups just want to show that that is not true, some [parts of the] population still want to be part of Indonesia. ”
1,160 refugees trapped in the village of Sare near Haitola, Ermera district, fear for their lives as Indonesian army units and allied local militia groups move closer to their camp. The refugees fled into the mountains two weeks ago after shooting in the town of Guiso, near Maubara. A resident of nearby Hatolia said two men who tried to return to Guiso last Wednesday to find food were shot by Indonesian soldiers. One man died instantly and another was taken to Dili for treatment. The Catholic relief agency Caritas is trying to get food to the refugees.
Shootings have been reported in the eastern towns of Los Palos and Baucau and along the waterfront in Dili.
Near the southwestern town of Suai, renewed paramilitary attacks in the village of Tilomar injured eight and forced 950 villagers to seek refuge in a church and a school.
Besi Merah Putih, under the command of Manuel de Sousa controls Maubara. Men armed with rifles, spearguns and knives patrol the streets. In the nearby town of Liquiça thousands of people from Maubara are staying in dozens of houses, school buildings and offices. Food is short. “I left because of the intimidation and the terror,” says a stall owner. Asked who drove him out, he said: “Besi Merah Putih.” A nun in a centre providing food says more than 2,000 people have come. “They believe if they return, they will die,'” said Sister Pascalia.
Amnesty International issued a report saying the Indonesian armed forces and paramilitary units were continuing to be responsible for arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances and unlawful killings.
Three soldiers and a government official are abducted and later killed by Falintil near Baucau.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that Indonesia and Portugal had agreed on a “direct” ballot for the people of East Timor to decide whether they want autonomy or independence.
Xanana Gusmao and Joao Tavares said they had agreed to discuss East Timor’s future peacefully. Xanana agrees to simultaneous disarmament of resistance and Indonesia’s armed forces, including the “tim” paramilitaries trained by TNI to fight the guerrillas, but insisted on the immediate disarming of the militias that are attacking the civilian population..
Australian current affairs TV show Four Corners broadcasts “A Licence to Kill” which examines the activities of the militias in East Timor. (Copies of the show and the transcript are available from firstname.lastname@example.org) . Some comments from the show:
Col. Tono Suratman, East Timor TNI Commander says “it’s not true that the Mahidi and other groups like Halilintar are intimidating the people. As the commander there, I guarantee they’re not the ones responsible”;
Militia member Januario Pereiro revealed “the promise is if you get everybody to support Indonesia, you will get four cows and a house. A brick house”;
Interviewer Mark Davis talks to a group of pro-integrationists who are in Jakarta. The group’s spokesman, Basilio Araujo is unabashed in declaring that they’ve come to Jakarta to ask for both money and guns and militia leader Eurico Guterres says “I was given guns not just to protect myself and other integrationists but to protect opponents of integration as well – the East Timorese generally”.
Besi Merah Putih surround a Carmelite convent in Maubara, some 60 kms west of Dili yesterday and remain in place today. The militia threatened “to kill any nun leaving the convent” because they were allegedly working for the resistance. A priest denied the charge, saying the nuns were providing aid to anyone in need “regardless of colour, ideology or religion.”
A visiting Portuguese diplomat said in Dili that separate sources had told her the intelligence service (SGI) was disseminating instructions about how to produce bombs. A spokesman for military intelligence in Dili denied there was a plot to train anyone in terrorist techniques. He said the SGI forces were sent home from East Timor last year.
Eight truckloads of soldiers and militiamen went to the suburb of Becora in Dili and began firing into the air, injuring two civilians. They had opened fire in apparent revenge for last week’s kidnapping deaths of four Indonesians in Baucau. The missing corpses of two of the soldiers were transported to Dili today. A military escort reportedly sprayed houses with gunfire over the entire course of the 110 kms separating Baucau from Dili.
A group of about 20 armed and masked men raided the village of Ritabou, in the Maliana area 90 miles from Dili and opened fire on civilians. Pedro Assamali (30), Domingos Manomau (25), Joao Ruben Barros (11) and Fonseca Gomes (11) were killed. 5 were wounded. Witnesses reported that the Halilintar militia is responsible for these murders in a joint operation with the Indonesian military and SGI. A priest said the group targeted the village to punish some of its residents for their pro-independence beliefs. Joint Kodim, Police and Halilintar forces have isolated the Maliana area. Roadblocks have been set up and no one is being allowed in or out of Maliana and surrounding villages and hamlets.
Two people were shot dead at Lacluta in the Viqueque district. They are Jeronimo Amaral, 18, and Jose de Andrade dos Santos. They were shot by a group of Makikit militia.
In the village of Dilor in the Viqueque district at least five people were wounded and 68 detained by 50 heavily armed militiamen and Indonesian military. The operation carried on into the nearby villages of Ahic and Laline.
Saka militiamen in Baucau took a ritual oath to remain loyal to Indonesia.
A new paramilitary death squad has been formed. It is called Darah Merah (Red Blood) under the control of elements of SGI. It has announced it will launch “Operasi Sapu Bersih” (Cleaning Sweep Operation) in Dili on May 2 to “wipe out” pro-independence activists. Sources of the movement said they have enough weapons to “smash a number of cities in a matter of seconds.” The new militia made the announcement in a letter signed by “commander-in-chief” Lafaek Saburai. The letter contains direct threats against CNRT and FALINTIL.
In Suai at least eight East Timorese were detained near the village of Zumalai by Mahidi militia. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two new paramilitary groups have been formed: AHI in Ailieu, just south of Dili and Abelai in Same, towards the coast south of Dili.
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.
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.
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.
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 themselves 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”.
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:
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.
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 Gusmao denied he had declared war on Indonesia two days before, explaining that he expected the resistance fighters to help people defend themselves.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 Death squads roam the streets attacking at will. Photo by: Beawiharta
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”.
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.
General Wiranto arrived in Dili accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff, General Subagyo, Army Assistant for Security, Major General Zaki Anwar, the Head of the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency Major General Kiki Syahnakri and the Police Chief General Roesmanhadi. Zaki Anwar is a former longtime intelligence officer in Timor and more recently chief of the army’s intelligence agency, BIA. Following Xanana Gusmao’s transfer from Cipinang Prison to his present place of detention, Anwar was a frequent visitor to his house. He is rumoured to be charge of the Operasi Sapu Jagad now causing death and havoc in Dili. Kiki Syahnakri was a military commander in Timor until he was withdrawn in 1995 after an incident in Liquiça when six alleged Falintil members were killed. This incident became an international issue, forcing the army to withdraw Syahnakri.
Mario Carrascalao says in Jakarta that he would stay in hiding because he believed the people targeting resistance leaders would not stop until he had been killed. “It’s true … I know these people,” he said.
East Timorese radio journalists at the state-run Indonesian Republic Radio say they are too afraid to go to work after being threatened by the militias. Also residents now complain about the biased news they are seeing on the state-run TVRI network which, after the weekend chaos, showed only news about the militia parade and file footage of fishermen on the beach and smiling children.
General Wiranto, Bishop Belo and Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau witness the signing of a reconciliation and “cease fire” agreement at the home of Bishop Belo by representatives of pro and anti-independence. Belo refused to sign it saying he had only been invited to witness it.
The groups pledged to “stop hatred, intimidation, and terror and try to help create peace.” They also pledged to help the government of Indonesia, the national Commission on Human Rights and the Roman Catholic church in promoting the respect of human rights and law in East Timor. Signing the document from the pro-Indonesian camp were Domingos Soares who heads the FPDK, and Joao Tavares, the commander of the militia force. The pro-Independence camp was represented by Leandro Isaac and Manuel Carrascalao, both CNRT leaders. It had already been signed in Jakarta by Xanana Gusmao. Also signing the document were Governor Abilio Soares, Colonel Tono Suratman, East Timor police chief Colonel Timbul Silaen and a member of the National Commission on Human Rights, Joko Sugianto.
Ending the day of peacemaking announcements and hugging between bitter enemies, General Wiranto said police had already begun to confiscate weapons. He invited journalists to view them at Dili’s police headquarters where journalists report a staged event was held with guns paraded before the cameras while a few red-and-white head-dressed militiamen stood by. A senior militia commander announced that violence by his gangs would no longer be tolerated.
The militias attacked Hera Polytechnic, 5 km outside Dili, where they capture six students. Two students were reportedly killed and thrown into the sea. Four other students were detained in Kapolda, the local police centre.
Five youths were killed when members of Besi Merah Putih attack the town of Bazar Tete, 30 kms southwest of Dili.
In Maliana student Antonio Basilio, 26, and farmer Armando Belako, 50, were stabbed
to death in their homes and six pro-independence people kidnapped.
Bartholomew Borreau, a village chief of Maluskiik in the Ermera region and local CNRT leader, survived a torture session last Sunday only to be arrested again by members of TNI and BMP today and systematically beaten to death. “His skull was completely smashed” said Father Sancho Amaral, “it’s all about intimidation. People are being taken away every day to be interrogated and beaten,” Father Sancho said. ‘They have to move around at night and no one can discuss anything in the open.”
In Samalete Village in Ermera one person is killed by militias.
Gun-wielding militias ignored East Timor’s day-old cease-fire, threatened civilians and effectively sealed Dili at night. There was an operation of Besi Merah Putih and other groups around Comoro especially around the Convent of Salesian Fathers. All the pro-independence activists and outspoken leaders in Dili have gone into hiding.
A pistol-waving militiaman threatened a group of journalists and ordered them back to Dili as they accompanied a government human rights commission team investigating last week’s massacre in the town of Liquiça.
Two local farmers, Antonio Borromeu and Carlito were killed by the Territorial Battalion in Hatolia in the Sare region.
In Manufahi-Same the pro-integration militia attacked civilians in the villages of Holarua, Letefoho, Babulo and Daesua, destroying houses and robbing the community of important materials. 100 persons sought refuge in the church.
Confirmation that at least 30 people have been kidnapped and killed in Suai, 200 kms southwest of Dili. Allegations that bodies of the victims had been dumped into a lake and the nearby Salele River. Members of Battalion 744 of the Indonesian military, plus Mahidi and Laksaur Merah Putih militias have been accused of carrying out the killings. They were all operating from the Koramil military central command in Suai. Among those killed are Alvaro de Araujo, Amaro de Araujo, 32, Jose Aurelio, Emilio, Mateus Araujo, Daniel Amaro, Jorge dos Reis Celestino, Felix Marcal, 45, Sabino, 27, Blasido, 25, Coli, 22, and Abilio Maulear, 47. During the night at least 30 more young men were kidnapped. A military official in Dili and a hospital official in Suai say there have been no deaths in Suai. Domingos Gomes, 25, a former AusAid worker is one of the kidnapped.
President Clinton wrote to President Habibie this week outlining his concerns over East Timor and calling on him to do more to bring the militia to heel.
The Foundation for Legal and Human Rights in Dili (Yayasan HAK) said the issue of ‘civil war’ is nothing more than an artificial design to be used to support actions of violence, terror and intimidation, referring to TNI’s justification of arming the militia groups on the grounds of self-defence.
Australian military intelligence told its government almost two months ago that TNI “in East Timor are clearly protecting, and in some instances operating with, pro-Jakarta militia in attacks in East Timor”, Australian radio reported today. The leaked report, prepared by the Defence Intelligence Organization, titled ‘Current Intelligence Briefing’, and dated March 4 had also warned more violence was certain and would focus on the territory’s capital Dili. “TNI could apprehend or easily control pro-Indonesia militants, but has chosen not to” said the report. Throughout March, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer consistently played down reports of TNI involvement in violence in East Timor.
A Dili-based human rights worker said “the situation in Suai is very, very tense. About 1,300 refugees have been asked to leave the church because they fear an attack like in Liquiça or Dili. Bodies have washed up along the beach. Some are already smelly, but there are also fresh bodies there.” The kidnappings have spread intense fear among the population.
Yayasan HAK has received reports that for the past few days there have been arrests and kidnappings in Baucau, Viqueque, Bobonaro and Los Palos. From Atambua (West Timor) to Dili there are 12 checkpoints: 10 of them are guarded by the militias and two by the military. HAK believes that the signing of the recent peace pact was a mere performance to deceive the international community.