Subject: DPA: East Timor bishop urges end to violence
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 09:07:09 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

April 15, 1999, Thursday, BC Cycle 11:04 Central European Time

East Timor bishop urges warring factions to end violence Jakarta

East Timor's Catholic bishop and Nobel Peace Price winner Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo on Thursday urged all parties in the troubled province to stop fighting.

He called on both the jailed freedom fighter Xanana Gusmao and the leader of the pro-integration East Timor Forum for Unity, Democracy and Democracy (FPDK), Domingus Soares, to tell their fighters to lay down their arms.

The appeal followed more bloodshed in Indonesia's easternmost province, a former Portuguese colony annexed despite international protests in 1976.

The official Antara news agency reported that Indonesian troops shot dead two alleged members of the Falintil resistance movement on Wednesday evening while raiding the house of a civil servant in Ermera district.

Colonel Mudjiono, deputy chief of East Timor's military, said the raid was in retaliation to an April 10 rebel attack on a military post, in which one person was killed.

Tension and violence have increased in East Timor since Jakarta in a surprise move earlier this year offered the province a choice between autonomy and independence.

Pro-Indonesian militias opposed to independence have allegedly been backed by the Indonesian military in their attacks on supporters of independence. Up to 25 people were killed in a recent massacre, according to unconfirmed reports last week.

Gusmao, under house arrest in Jakarta for rebellion, subsequently called on his followers to again fight the Indonesian military.

He refused to retract the call to arms, despite threats to send him back to jail, and said Thursday: "I am obliged to continue to ask that the defenceless people of East Timor refuse to allow themselves be slaughtered like animals, although I know that no-one will stop the murderous bullets."

The rebel chief also claimed that the armed forces "will keep on supporting the militias as part of the inhumane plan devised by the Indonesian generals to destroy the East Timorese people".

Antara reported that Bishop Belo, after phoning Gusmao Thursday, said: "We urge Xanana to call on all his armed followers, Falintil, throughout East Timor immediately to stop killing, kidnapping and intimidation as well as other violence against the people.

"Violence will only invite revenge by others and victimize innocence people." He added that Gusmao "and his followers have the moral obligation to save the lives of the East Timorese".

The bishop was also quoted as saying: "We ask that the FPDK, along with its armed pro-integration militias, create peace for the East Timor people day and night."

In Jakarta, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas again rejected a proposal to deploy United Nations peace-keeping forces in East Timor. He added that "the endless incidents which caused death and injury have not helped solve the peace process".

Indonesia and Portugal are due to resume talks on the future of East Timor next week in New York under the auspices of the United Nations secretary-general, where Jakarta is due to submit its autonomy plan for East Timor.

U.N.-sponsored direct balloting is planned for July to determine whether the people of East Timor want independence or autonomy. dpa sh fz tan

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