Subject: KY: Indonesian military trained, armed us: E. Timor militias

Indonesian military trained, armed us: E. Timor militias

JAKARTA, Oct. 8 Kyodo

Pro-Indonesia East Timorese militia leaders in West Timor told two key Indonesian ministers Sunday they would tell the United Nations how the Indonesian military trained and armed them last year if their leader Eurico Guterres, who is currently being detained in Jakarta, is not released.

'Two hundred of my men were trained in Aileu and in Cijantung,' Joanico Cesario, former chief of the Alfa Sera militia group based in East Timor's Baucau town, told Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab and Defense Minister Mahfud Mahmodin.

Aileu is north of East Timor's capital Dili while Cijantung is the headquarters of the Indonesian army's elite unit, the Special Force Command.

Cesario said the military also armed some 1,500 of them with automatic and semiautomatic guns.

Shihab and Mahfud visited refugee camps in West Timor and the town of Atambua on Sunday. They stopped for a brief dialogue with about 20 East Timorese, including the militiamen, in Kupang town, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province which includes West Timor.

In response to the threat, Mahfud said it was 'just fine' for the militias to do that, but legally the militias would have to be specific about how the military had armed them.

'We have to go by the law here, who gave, what kinds (of weapons) and when,' he said.

Cesario claimed he and 13 militia battalion commanders have agreed to send on Monday their letter, in which they stated their intention to reveal 'the Indonesian military's support to the militias.'

He said they were disappointed with the Indonesian security forces over the arrest of Guterres last week over weapons offenses.

'They (Indonesian police and soldiers) treated us like honey in East Timor, but poison here in Indonesia,' Cesario later told reporters.

The Indonesian military has repeatedly denied supporting the militias, mainly in the wake of last year's orgy of violence by militias and Indonesian soldiers after the announcement of the result of a U.N.-organized referendum on independence.

Meanwhile, Shihab earlier told reporters he has witnessed an improvement in the security situation in West Timor.

He said he was sure Indonesia could convince the U.N. on Thursday how his government has implemented the resolution issued last Sept. 8, which, among other things, calls for disbanding and disarming of militias and arresting militia leaders.

On Sept. 6, some 5,000 militias and refugees attacked a U.N. office in Atambua and killed three U.N. aid workers.


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