|Subject: Info on ABRI's Paramiliaries in East Timor
From: john roosa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
February 10, 1999
There are two paramilitary groups who have been particularly active in recent weeks in attacking villages, killing the residents, and putting the survivors to flight: MAHIDIN, based in Ainaro (a city on the south side of Mt. Ramelau directly south of Dili), and PANA, based in Maubara (a city on the northern coast directly west of Dili). Their terror campaigns in the villages have generated many of the refugees who are presently sheltering in the cities of Dili, Liquica, and Suai. Mahidin has killed at least six people so far.
Below is relatively detailed information about the groups, their leaders, and activities. This information, based on fact-finding investigations by East Timorese human rights workers, constitutes evidence to make a case for an immediate intervention of UN peacekeeping troops. ABRI is clearly arming these groups and allowing them a free license to terrorize the population.
Apologists for these groups like to present them as the pro-integrationists' equivalent to Falintil. There is, however, no similarity and no parallel between the two. These groups have attacked and killed unarmed civilians. They have chased their own countrymen from their homes and created a massive refugee crisis. These "pro-integration" groups are nothing more than terrorist gangs and bandits, mere extensions of ABRI.
1. Mahidin (Mati Hidup Demi Integrasi -- Life and Death for Integration)
Cancio Lopes, after completing high school in Kupang, immediately started working in the Regional Office of the Justice Department in Dili. Beginning in 1994, he was promoted to the status of a civil servant (PNS). In May 1998, he moved to the Regional Office of the Justice Department in Kupang, West Timor.
Outside of his work as a civil servant, he has been an intelligence agent for ABRI. After the Santa Cruz massacre in 1991, he formed a group of intelligence agents. At that time, the group didn't have a name. It continuously worked with the security apparatus in intimidating and arresting the youth of Ainaro and Covalima districts.
After Suharto's fall, with the emergence of pro-referendum actions in East Timor (demonstrations, free forums and dialogues), Cancio attempted to strengthen his group by forcibly recruiting men (young and old) who did not join the pro-referendum action from Ainaro district. These recruits were given military training in the village of Cassa, in the sub-district of Ainaro Kota.
On December 17, 1998, with support from ABRI, he established the organization Mahidin (Life and Death for Integration). The first action of this organization was attacking the residents of the village of Raimea, in Zumalai subdistrict, Covalima district, on December 26th. In this action, some of the youth of the village were arrested and tortured.
According to Cancio himself, speaking to the BBC, Mahidin received 20 weapons, Chinese-made guns, from ABRI on December 30. The group already possessed three M-16s. (BBC, Feb. 5, '99)
On January 1, 1999, Mahidin became an official organization through an inaugural function attended by the Kodim commander of Ainaro, the police chief of Ainaro, and some of the leaders of the Ainaro district-level legislature, the commander of B Sector, and elderly "Pioneers of the Struggle for Integration."
On January 2, Mahidin checked every public transportation vehicle passing through the village of Cassa (directly south of Ainaro). The group arrested and interrogated a farmer, named Carlito, and seven other passengers who were students at the University of East Timor: Cancio da Costa (24), Alberto Noronha (22), Celestino Magno (22), Lolita Labes (23), Oscar Beran de Araujo (24), Mariano Mendes (23), and Luciano Mendes (20).
On January 3, Mahidin was involved in a shooting of some youths in the village of Manutasi, in the sub-district of Ainaro Kota. Two youths were killed: Reinaldo Orleans (21), and Julio (23). Four youths were seriously wounded: Celestino da Silva Pereira (19), Hermenegildo Barros (21), Marcos de Andrade (23), Domingos de Andrade (20). And two youths were lightly wounded: Asiri Mario Doutel Pereira (20), Armindo Araujo (20).
On January 24, Mahidin attacked the village of Mape, in Zumalai sub-district, Covalima district. In this action, they shot and killed one man Fernando Cardoso (27) and arrested a youth named Alipio Barreto (23).
On January 25, Mahidin again attacked a village. This time it was Nagidar, Zumalai sub-district, Covalima district. In this action, apart from burning the houses of the residents, they sadistically killed a pregnant woman named Angelina de Araujo (24). After shooting her dead, they cut up her corpse. With a knife, they cut open her abdomen and pulled out the fetus. Two other residents of the village were also killed: Olandino da Silva (45) and Luis Pereira (16). Five other residents were wounded by the shooting: Adelina Barreto (45), Hermenegildo Freitas (40), Cipriano de Jesus (13), Rofina de Jesus (13), and Rui Cardoso (12). In this attack, three residents disappeared and have so far not turned up: Alipio da Silva (16), Joao Barreto (15), Silverio dos Santos (16).
2. Pana (Merah Putih -- The "Red and White" group)
This group has been behind many of the attacks on the villages around Maubara subdistrict which have resulted in the flight of the majority of the residents (especially the male youths) of that subdistrict to Dili. The victims of their attacks have tended to be those people suspected of being pro-referendum. Many of their victims though have been ordinary villagers who don't understand why they were victimized, including the head of the village Fatubou. Apart from attacking and raiding villages, this group, like bandits, loots the property owned by the victims. On February 4, 1999, a witness from Dili traveling along the Loes to Maubara bridge, saw many members of this group freely roaming around the street while carrying machetes, spears, bows and arrows, etc. All were wearing red and white bandanas.
(Note: Reuters correspondent Lewa Pardomuan went to Vatuboro village, the headquarters of Pana, but did not mention the existence of Pana, did not describe its leadership, and did not mention that it had caused the flight of many villagers from the countryside. Instead, Pardomuan, in a Feb. 4 dispatch, presented the men carrying poison-tipped spears and wearing red and white headresses, as average East Timorese who were spontaneously insisting on integration and admirably "defending" themselves. Pardomuan reported that "people in Vatuboro said their loyalty was not forced by pressure from the Indonesian army" and quoted an ABRI lieutenant posted near Vatuboro to the effect that "the people's wish to remain part of Indonesia was genuine." I wonder if there were journalists like Pardomuan in the early 1940s who went to Nazi-created Jewish ghettos like Lodz, spoke to the Judenrat and the German military officers and then reported that the Jews really did want to live under Nazi occupation.)