Subject: IT: Indon military arming 'death squads' in E.Timor
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:36:34 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo:

Irish Times [Dublin] Monday, February 22, 1999

Indonesian officers arming 'death squads'

By David Shanks

Indonesia: Indonesian military elements were trying to create the false impression that conditions exist for a civil war over independence in East Timor, an international conference in Dublin was told at the weekend.

Army officers were arming "a small number of collaborators" and creating "armed death squads", but only a tiny section of the population disagreed with the idea of independence from Indonesia, said Mr Tom Hyland, co-ordinator of the Ireland East Timor Solidarity Campaign, the conference organiser.

In 1975, shortly before Indonesia's illegal invasion of the former Portuguese colony, Indonesia had concocted a civil war between the Timorese government and another political party. This same "Komodor" strategy was being tried now, he said.

The handing out of guns to perhaps 20,000 collaborators in recent months showed that elements in the army (ABRI) did not accept President B.J. Habibie's new "wish be free from East Timor", as another speaker described Jakarta's sudden change of policy on the territory's status last month.

Ms Carmel Budiardjo, of Tapol (which means political prisoner), a London-based human rights campaign for Indonesia, said Indonesia itself "will break up unless there is great wisdom among its political elites" in coming months.

She said army killings had increased at an alarming rate in recent weeks in Aceh, northern Sumatra, and separatist rebels were still active in West Papua.

The conference heard Indonesia's economic and political crisis described as its worst since independence in 1947. Dr Peter Carey, fellow and tutor in South-East Asian Studies at Trinity College, Oxford, said the sense of demoralisation and poverty there now was reminiscent of Yugoslavia. "It smells like the former Soviet Union."

After his last visit to East Timor he fell into a great depression because of the deep disturbance in society there at a psychic level. How was the trauma of the brutal 23 years of Indonesian occupation to be transmuted, he wondered. "Healing, vision and forgiveness" would be needed.

It was in the context of "dissolution and rebuilding" in Indonesia that an abjectly poor East Timor might get its independence, he said, stressing "huge human problems".

Some 3,200 people had been killed in Northern Ireland since 1969. But since 1975 200,000 out of a population of less than 1,000,000 had been killed in East Timor.

After the celebrations, perhaps next year, for independence of the world's 183rd country were over East Timor would "have to be built from scratch" and it would need international help.

AFP adds from Jakarta: A bomb threat at the Dili airport yesterday caused the diversion of a plane carrying the territory's Jakarta-appointed governor, Mr Jose Osario Soares, Bacau bishop Dr Basilion de Nascimento and East Timor police chief Col Timbul Silaen, to West Timor.

It later flew on to Dili after the airport was declared safe, the state Antara news agency said.

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