|Subject: DPA: Indo minister says rogue
military may be aiding militias
Deutsche Presse-Agentur August 11, 2000
Indonesian minister says rogue military may be aiding militias Jakarta
Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono conceded on Friday that rogue military personnel may be continuing to train and support pro-Jakarta militias launching new cross-border attacks into United Nations-controlled East Timor.
The minister's disclosure came amid an alarming increase in militia activity in East Timor in recent weeks, including a firefight on Thursday in which a Nepalese peacekeeper was killed and three of his comrades wounded.
Two weeks ago, a New Zealand peacekeeper was shot dead by militiamen who infiltrated the territory from Indonesian West Timor near the border town of Suai.
The U.N. and foreign nations including the United States and Australia have criticized the Indonesian government for failing to disarm the militias, who launched a murder and arson spree in East Timor nearly one year ago after the territory voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The Indonesian army trained and armed the militias to terrorize the population ahead of the August 30 ballot, and joined in the orgy of violence that followed. The military and militias also forced more than 260,000 East Timorese at gunpoint across the half-island's border into West Timor.
U.N. military officials in East Timor say the militias were likely launching the incursions to show their frustration with losing the election, seek revenge on the peace-keepers or attempt to destabilize the territory.
One militiamen captured in East Timor last week told U.N. military personnel that one of his comrades was an Indonesian army soldier.
Sudarsono told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa during an exclusive interview that rogue army soldiers were "possibly" supporting the militias, "but I can say for certain it's not the formal commander, General Kiki Syahnakri. There may be problems below him, especially in the camps."
The minister was referring to squalid refugee camps in West Timor run by the militias, which hold more than 120,000 East Timorese who have yet to be repatriated home.
Under pressure from foreign government to disband the militias, Indonesia announced that it wanted to immediately close the camps, repatriate refugees who wanted to return to East Timor and relocate those who wished to stay in Indonesia.
"As long as the militias and refugees are allowed there, there will be this cross-border problem," Sudarsono said.
But U.N. aid workers in West Timor said the presence of militias has stalled the repatriation of the remaining refugees, many of whom are being intimidated by militiamen to remain in Indonesia.
The U.N. refugee agency has tried to register the remaining refugees to determine who wanted to return home, but the latest attempt was cancelled after militiamen attacked the offices of their offices in West Timor.
Officials have said as many as 80 per cent of the remaining refugees wanted to return home but were being intimidated to stay or being fed misinformation about food shortages in East Timor and harsh treatment by U.N. peacekeepers. dpa jc wp
EDITOR-NOTE: Eds: defence minister comments in an exclusive interview
can't control E.Timor border
JAKARTA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Indonesia conceded on Friday it could not fully control its border with East Timor where another U.N. soldier was killed in a gunfight with pro-Jakarta gangs, and said the only solution was to close refugee camps in West Timor.
Indonesia has come under mounting international pressure to rein in the miltiamen who operate with near impunity in and around refugee camps just across the border inside Indonesian West Timor.
"We have been quite open about this problem...we cannot give 100 percent control," Foreign Ministry spokesman Sulaiman Abdulmanan told Reuters.
He said the government had always barred armed people from entering East Timor, which last year voted to break away from Indonesia.
"But once the people have crossed the border they are not our responsibility anymore...they may store their weapons somewhere on the East Timor side," he said.
A Nepalese soldier was killed and three others wounded on Thursday night in the latest in a series of clashes between U.N. peacekeepers and pro-Jakarta militias.
A New Zealand soldier was killed in similar circumstances last month.
Thursday's clashes broke out northeast of the town of Suai.
Earlier this month, the UNHCR suspended repatriation of refugees to East Timor, accusing the militias of intimidating its staff.
Speaking in Singapore, Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said on Friday the only solution was to close the refugee camps, where thousands still live.
"By closing down the camp, the source of all those problems -- killing, tension could be abated," he said.
He said registration of refugees was a problem but Jakarta was determined to get it done and would not let the militias get in the way.
Shihab said Indonesia was drawing up a plan to close camps in West Timor and would call on international agencies, including the United Nations, to help with the repatriation.
About a quarter of East Timor's population of 800,000 was forced to flee after the impoverished territory overwhelmingly voted a year ago to end 23 years of often brutal Indonesian rule.
The result of the vote triggered a wave of violence and destruction by the pro-Jakarta gangs and international troops eventually went in to bring it under control.
U.N. officials and diplomats have pressed Jakarta to end the cross-border incursions and disband the militias.
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