Subject: bbc: Militias kill with Indonesian guns
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

[Excerpt: He said the military had already allowed him to use M-16 rifles captured earlier from anti-Indonesian rebels. Mr Lopez then described how he led an attack on 26 January near the town of Suai on what he believed was a rebel post, killing six people, including a pregnant woman and a 15-year-old schoolboy.

Friday, February 5, 1999 Published at 14:47 GMT

Militias kill with Indonesian guns

Thousands of villagers are fleeing, fearing a return to civil war

By Jonathan Head in Jakarta

Further evidence has emerged of close links between the Indonesian army and paramilitary groups responsible for the killing of civilians in East Timor.

The commander of one of the most powerful paramilitary groups admitted using guns provided by the Indonesian army in an attack on a rebel post in which six people, including civilians, were killed.

Kansio Lopez told the BBC that he led last month's attack on the position, using automatic weapons supplied less than four weeks previously by the army.

The attack prompted an exodus of six-thousand refugees from the area.

On Tuesday the Armed Forces Commander, General Wiranto, denied giving guns recently to civilian militias.

Sparking civil war

Pro-independence campaigners in East Timor have accused Indonesia of trying to provoke a civil war.

Despite its offer of possible independence for East Timor last week, Indonesia has been dogged by accusations of insincerity.

That now appears to be borne out by confirmation that the Indonesian armed forces are supplying guns to militias who are killing civilians.

Kansio Lopez heads a pro-Indonesian militia called Mahidi. He told the BBC that he received 20 Chinese-made SKS rifles from the local military headquarters at the end of December.

Suai attack

He said the military had already allowed him to use M-16 rifles captured earlier from anti-Indonesian rebels. Mr Lopez then described how he led an attack on 26 January near the town of Suai on what he believed was a rebel post, 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. Mr Lopez is unapologetic about these deaths. He describes them as part of a life and death struggle to stop East Timor becoming independent.

But the thousands of refugees who have fled from the area say the Mahidi militia is conducting a reign of terror, a view supported by the Church and local aid workers.

Kansio Lopez's account reveals an alarming degree of co-operation between the unofficial militias and the Indonesian army at a time when diplomats are trying to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.

Mr Lopez is also currently a commander of the official army-trained civil defence force.

Until December, he says, he also worked for the Indonesian Department of Justice. After the attack on Suai, he said the army asked him to give back his guns but he refused because, in his words, he needed to be ready to fight a civil war.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/events/indonesia/latest_news/newsid_273000/ 273158.stm

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