Subject: JP: Crowd blamed for chruch attack

Crowd blamed for chruch attack

The Jakarta Post

29 Jan 03

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A military officer testified before a human rights tribunal on Tuesday that a gunshot from inside the Liquica church compound triggered a riot in Liquica, East Timor, in April 1999. Testifying at the trial of Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, Capt. Djoko Waluyo, a former Liquica military district command (Kodim) staff member, said that the crowd surrounding the church complex clashed with those inside the complex after a gunshot from inside were heard. About five minutes after the shot, we got orders to enter the complex and rescue Father Rafael dos Santos. We went in and escorted him out along with eight others," Waluyo said.

He said he and his team were not armed and saw no bodies or blood in the process. Father dos Santos, an East Timorese priest, testified before the same court last Thursday that the shot was heard from outside the complex. He also said he saw from his house in the complex that among the attackers were Kodim personnel in civilian attire carrying M-16 rifles. When he was being taken to safety by the Indonesian soldiers, he saw two bodies on the way and found traces of blood everywhere after he returned home. Waluyo said that there was no way that military personnel could carry M-16s because three months earlier there were orders that the soldiers disarm themselves to prevent fatal clashes.

Furthermore he claimed M-16 rifles were not available there. The court gave the lawyers and prosecutors one opportunity each to bring more witnesses before the trial of Damiri, who is being charged with crimes against humanity for failing to prevent bloodshed. If found guilty, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years. Damiri is the former head of the Udayana Military Command overseeing Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor. He is the highest ranking soldier brought before the rights tribunal for the violence that happening during and after the United Nations-sponsored referendum in East Timor in 1999.

The court adjourned until Feb. 4. The trial for former East Timor military commander Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman was scheduled to proceed on Wednesday, when testimony of former Indonesian Army (TNI) commander Gen. (ret) Wiranto will be heard.

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