Subject: AFP: US worried about Timorese rebel chief's u-turn
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:35:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo:

US worried about Timorese rebel chief's u-turn

WASHINGTON, April 5 (AFP) - The State Department on Monday called "dangerous and troubling" news that detained East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao now favors a return to armed struggle.

Spokesman James Rubin also voiced US concern about continuing violence in the former Portuguese territory.

"We are unable to confirm at this point these reported statements," Rubin said, referring to a statement Monday by Gusmao's lawyer that he had ordered East Timorese to resume their resistance war against Indonesian troops.

"We will be seeking clarification of his views, which if reported correctly, we would urge him to reconsider. If true, this would be a dangerous and troubling development," Rubin said.

Gusmao gave the order to resume armed struggle after learning that pro-Indonesian militia had killed 17 East Timorese people, his lawyer said.

"Xanana has ordered the independence guerrillas and all the people to take up arms against the Indonesian armed forces and the paramilitary groups that have carried out murders of East Timorese," lawyer Johnson Pangaitan quoted a statement issued by Gusmao as saying.

The lawyer told AFP that Gusmao had relayed the order to his followers in East Timor at 4.00 p.m. (0900 GMT), when he had learned that two people had been killed and seven injured in an attack by Indonesian-backed militia in East Timor.

"But since then he learned that 17 people had been killed in the attack" Monday on Mauboke in the Liquisa district west of the East Timorese capital of Dili, Johnson said.

Attempts by journalists to reach Gusmao himself by phone at his Jakarta suburban detention house were met with the news that his telephone had been "temporarily disconnected."

Johnson said the guerrilla leader felt he had been "lied to" by the Indonesian military, and accused the international community of "passivity" in trusting the Indonesian military more than the people of East Timor.

The declaration was an abrupt reversal for Gusmao, who has recently called on his guerrilla fighters to show restraint and not to react against provocation by the militia or the army.

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