Subject: SMH: Militiamen 'on way to Jakarta to kill resistance leaders'
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 10:34:08 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo:

Militiamen 'on way to Jakarta to kill resistance leaders'

By LINDSAY SIMPSON, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta

A 150-strong squad of pro-Indonesian militia is heading for Jakarta with orders to assassinate East Timorese resistance leaders, diplomats and Timorese activists said, quoting reliable sources.

Mr Mario Carrascalao, a critic of the Indonesian military's rule of East Timor and former governor of the former Portuguese territory, has been told he is at the top of a death list and is in hiding.

Security at a Jakarta residence where the pro-independence leader, Xanana Gusmao, is under house arrest has also being tightened after Indonesian authorities confirmed information about the squad, diplomats said. People close to Gusmao said they had reliable information that the squad had split into three groups commanded by several Indonesian military intelligence agents who are apparently from East Timor.

They said the militia left the East Timor capital Dili on a passenger boat last Saturday as hundreds of pro-Indonesian militia went on a rampage, storming the home of Mr Carrascalao's brother, Manuel, killing 12 people including his 18-year-old son.

Mr Carrascalao said in Jakarta on Tuesday that he would stay in hiding because he believed the people targeting resistance leaders would not stop until he had been killed. "It's true ... I know these people," he said.

The threat Mr Carrascalao faced was also acknowledged when Australia's Ambassador to Jakarta, Mr John McCarthy, thanked him for attending a reception on Tuesday for senior Australian editors visiting Indonesia.

Indonesian authorities who see Gusmao as a key to the negotiation of an agreement to end the conflict in East Timor are believed to be reluctant to release him from house arrest for fear that without protection he would be murdered.

Earlier this week Indonesia's Justice Minister, Mr Muladi, backed away from a threat to put Gusmao back in jail because of a call he had made to his supporters to take up arms to protect themselves.

Mr Muladi conceded that Gusmao's call was not a reference to war but a "defensive" statement.

Despite the attacks against his supporters, Gusmao told Mr Muladi he was still willing to talk with pro-Indonesian leaders.

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