Subject: Re: AP - Military plans to arm East Timorese against rebel attacks
Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 02:23:58 -0500
From: Charles Scheiner
Below is a longer version of the AP article Don Ferry recently posted. It seems the perversely logical next step in the following sequence:
1. For years, the Indonesian military has armed, trained and worked with gangs and paramilitaries to sow terror in East Timor.
2. The Indonesian government has always denied this, claiming that it had no connection with the paramilitaries -- ninjas, gada paksi, etc.
3. Leaked Indonesian documents released to the press last months make it clear that the paramilitaries are directed and closely coordinated by the military.
4. (below) ABRI takes responsibility for creating and working with paramilitaries in East Timor, claiming that they are a new "people's defence force." (Of course, they will "defend" Indonesian, not East Timorese, interests.)
How dumb do they think the international community is? I guess we'll find out.
-- Charlie Scheiner, ETAN/US
From: Joyo@aol.com Received: from Joyo@aol.com by imo24.mx.aol.com (IMOv18.1) id BAEUa19922; Sat, 5 Dec 1998 12:45:16 -0500 (EST) Message-ID: <email@example.com> December 5, 1998
Indonesia Military Plans To Arm E Timorese Against Rebels
Dow Jones Newswires
DILI, Indonesia (AP)--The Indonesian military chief in East Timor plans to arm civilians in more than 440 villages as protection against rebels who are fighting for independence for the former Portuguese colony.
Col. Suhartono Suratman, East Timor's military chief, said Saturday that weapons would be issued to volunteers who join a "people's defense force," known as Wanra.
"I will equip those volunteers with guns in order to protect villages that are prone to rebel attacks," Suratman said in Dili, East Timor's capital.
Suratman, however, refused to specify the kind and number of weapons to be provided.
East Timorese rebels have been fighting for independence since Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975 and annexed it a year later.
After years of bloody guerrilla warfare and human rights abuses, Indonesia softened its stance on East Timor after former President Suharto's authoritarian rule ended in May.
His successor, President B.J. Habibie, has offered a measure of autonomy in exchange for recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over the land of 800,000 people.
The United Nations is currently sponsoring talks between Indonesia and Portugal over the autonomy plan.