Subject: RT: No massacre but situation dangerous-source
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 10:06:16 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

No E.Timor massacre but situation dangerous-source 01:14 a.m. Jan 07, 1999 Eastern

By Jonathan Thatcher

JAKARTA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - There is no evidence of any recent massacre by Indonesian troops in the troubled province East Timor but the situation there is beginning to get out of hand, a human rights source said on Thursday.

The Australian government earlier said it would look into a new report of torture and killing in East Timor by Indonesia.

``There wasn't a massacre, but there were several rather serious incidents,'' the source, who asked not to be identified but who has access to first-hand information on East Timor, told Reuters.

Jakarta has denied mass killings during military operations against rebels in the East Timor region of Alas in November.

Australia's SBS television on Wednesday night featured East Timorese who had fled their villages and taken refuge in the capital Dili following reports that Indonesian troops had massacred about 40 people in the village of Alas.

The Jakarta source said six people were known to have been killed and another three are missing, presumed dead, in the 2-week military operation which followed the killing of three soldiers and a civilian on November 9.

At least two more people were killed by troops in subsequent operations, in which property was also wrecked, he said.

``It's quite dangerous. You get the impression things are getting a little out of hand on both sides,'' he said.

``East Timor soldiers are not fully under control and (jailed rebel leader Xanana) Gusmao can call for calm but no one's listening.''

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975, with the tacit backing of the United States, annexing it the next year.

Its internationally condemned rule there has combined substantial financial assistance with brutal repression in which tens of thousands of East Timorese have died.

Indonesia has failed to completely crush a small-scale guerrilla movement, and analysts say there is widespread contempt in the impoverished territory for Jakarta's rule.

Portugal and Indonesia are due to continue negotiations in February over the future of East Timor.

Last month, Indonesia warned that it might delay a promised reduction in its combat troops there if there was more unrest.

Indonesia also faces separatist tensions in the staunchly Moslem province of Aceh and the remote eastern territory of Irian Jaya. Violence has erupted in Aceh in recent weeks, leaving at least 25 people dead.

Back to January Menu
Main Postings Menu

Postings of Human Rights Violations in Timor