Subject: AFP - Bishop urges Indonesian military to come clean on troop deployment
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 10:13:14 +0100
From: "Paula Carvalho Pinto" <>

Bishop urges Indonesian military to come clean on troop deployment

Mon 21 Sep 98 - 03:29 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 21 (AFP) - A Nobel peace laureate in East Timor has urged the Indonesian military not to conceal troop movements in and out of the troubled territory, a press report said Monday.

Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Ximenes Felipe Belo told visiting Indonesian State secretary Akbar Tanjung the Indonesian military should practice transparency in the deployment and withdrawal of troops from the territory, the Jakarta Post daily said.

Belo of the Dili diocese, one of the former Portuguese colony's two dioceses, said to ensure openness, Indonesian troops should leave and enter the territory in the daytime through the main port in Dili, and not by night through other ports.

"Please convey that to the president ... because in this reform era people want to see concrete and transparent actions so that everything runs well," Belo told Tanjung.

He said he had heard reports that fresh troops had entered East Timor from several small, isolated harbours -- Atapupu, Com and Ilomar.

The new unannounced arrivals had offended the population but he did not elaborate.

Several leading activists of the East Timorese pro-independence movement, including exiled activist Jose Ramos Horta who shared the 1996 Nobel peace price with Belo, have accused Indonesia of sending fresh troops to East Timor after their widely publicised withdrawals of 1,000 troops in end of July and early August.

"In the last few weeks they have again introduced in East Timor around 3,000 troops," Ramos Horta said last week.

Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao claimed in an interview with AFP last week, that the troop withdrawal was in fact "a routine troop rotation which allowed the Indonesians to bring into the territory" 7,000 more troops.

"Two thousand of them crossed the border, and launched an operation from Maliana and Balibo in the direction of Hatolia, Ermera and Atsabe and continued on to Aileu, Ainaro and Same towards the heart of the territory," Xanana said.

He added another 5,000 men "entered through Kou and Los Palos, pushed out to the east passing through Lore, Iliomar, Baguai and Watu Karbau and went on through Vikeke and Ossu also towards the center."

Indonesia pulled out 398 soldiers from East Timor on July 28 as part of its pledge and followed with some 700 other troops on August 8.

Indonesian military (ABRI) authorities in Dili also said that on August 5, three companies of soldiers and police mobile brigade troops, totalling about 300 men, had departed as part of a regular troop rotation.

ABRI on Saturday denied all reports that it had replaced the troops that it had withdrawn from East Timor.

Indonesian President B.J. Habibie pledged a "gradual" troop withdrawal from the territory in a meeting with Belo in June, shortly after he replaced ex-president Suharto.

Suharto ordered the 1975 Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony and its annexation the following year. The United Nations and most states still view Portugal as the official administrator of East Timor.

© 1998 Agence France-Presse

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