Subject: AU: Military 'giving arms' to militias says Australia
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 10:35:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

The Australian 10 June 99

Military 'giving arms' to militias

By ROBERT GARRAN

THE Australian Government yesterday stepped up criticism of the Indonesian armed forces in East Timor, saying there was evidence the military had been supplying arms to pro-Jakarta militias.

The admission, made by a senior Foreign Affairs Department official in a Senate defence estimates hearing, came the day after a senior Defence Department official made the Government's first public acknowledgement the Indonesian military was actively encouraging pro-Jakarta factions in the territory.

Nick Warner, a first assistant secretary in the Foreign Affairs Department, said the armed forces were "not playing the neutral role as called for" in Indonesia's May agreement with Portugal and the UN.

"We believe there is evidence available that TNI (the armed forces) has been actively involved in encouraging and supporting pro-integrationist militias in East Timor, including through the supply of arms," he said.

But there had been "some improvement" in the security situation over the past few weeks as UN personnel arrived. This was particularly so in Dili, the capital, but outside Dili security problems continued, he said.

It was believed there were at least 6000 armed pro-integration militias or militant groups operating in East Timor, not the 12,000 to 15,000 claimed by some groups in the territory, Mr Warner said.

These fell into three groups. The first was militia groups set up by TNI as security auxiliaries, numbering 2000 to 3000. Indonesia claimed these groups had a legitimate security role and existed in all provinces.

The second group was pro-integrationist militant groups, usually called paramilitary groups.

"These are the ones that have sprung up in the last few months. Of these we think there are probably 12 groups in existence in the 13 regencies in East Timor, and we think that they probably number around about 3000," Mr Warner said.

The third category was paramilitary groups set up by the Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) some years ago, and probably numbering about 3000.

Indonesian officials yesterday defended their recruitment of militia members to a civilian security force, apparently the first of the three groups listed by Mr Warner.

"Every single person has the right to take part," said police Colonel Timbul Silaen of the recruitment drive for the PAM Swakarsa, an auxiliary security force for the August 8 vote on independence.

A similar group set up during last November's special convention of the national legislature terrorised reformist protesters and civilians.

The Australian last week revealed a document showing anti-independence militia chief Eurico Guterres will play a major role in organising security in Dili during the vote.

Back to June Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99