|Subject: AP: Indonesia Training Militia To Send To
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 17:16:31 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
July 10, 1999
Indonesia Training Militia To Send To East Timor-Report
LISBON (AP)--The Indonesian army is training a 300-strong militia group in the country's capital before sending them to the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, a respected Portuguese newspaper said Saturday.
Weekly Expresso said a militia named Darah Erah, headed by a man named Afonso Pinto, was receiving training at the army's headquarters in Jakarta.
A number of the newly trained fighters were to land next Friday in East Timor's capital, Dili, the paper said.
The newspaper did not name any sources, and independent verification was not immediately possible.
The report comes less than a week after Indonesia's military commander and Defense Minister Gen. Wiranto promised pro-independence leaders that his forces would not interfere with a planned U.N.-supervised referendum on the future of East Timor.
In the past separatists have accused Indonesia's military of arming and training anti-independence militias. Wiranto has denied the allegation.
A U.N.-organized ballot on Aug. 21 or 22 will give East Timorese a choice between autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. Violence has wracked the province ahead of the vote, with dozens murdered in the last two months alone.
Indonesia invaded the half-island territory in 1975 after Portugal abruptly ended its overseas rule.