Subject: etpost - DPA: Indonesian troops paying militias in dud notes, priest claims
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:37:01 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Deutsche Presse-Agentur May 22, 1999, Saturday, BC Cycle

Indonesian troops paying militias in dud notes, priest claims Sydney

A Catholic priest just returned from East Timor claimed Saturday that Indonesian troops in the former Portuguese colony were paying pro-Jakarta militias with counterfeit banknotes.

Father Antonio Alves, who ministers to Sydney's East Timorese community, showed reporters rupiah banknotes bearing the same serial numbers.

He said militia members were receiving the dud currency for their role in fomenting violence ahead of an August 8 vote in which the 800,000 East Timorese will decide whether they want to remain a part of Indonesia or break away.

Andrew McNaughtan, a campaigner for East Timor independence and the convener of the non-government Australia-East Timor Association, said the forgeries were proof that Jakarta had a hand in guiding militiamen responsible for scores of deaths in recent weeks.

"The Indonesians are supposed to have disarmed the militias by now and stopped the violence," McNaughtan told The Australian newspaper. "Instead they are funding a covert war and either they're unwilling to find the money to pay for it or they have run out of money."

McNaughtan urged the International Monetary Fund, the organiser of a billion-dollar bail out package for Jakarta, to investigate the claims of counterfeiting.

In Canberra, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer added his voice to an international chorus calling on Jakarta to be even-handed in East Timor ahead of the crucial United Nations-sponsored vote.

He said Australia was concerned about reports that the Indonesian military were training militias and had raised these concerns with the Indonesian ambassador and with government officials in Jakarta.

"We're concerned about the damage these reports are doing to Indonesia's international reputation," Downer said. "The Indonesian government does need the cooperation of the U.N., it does need the support of the U.N. for its policy on East Timor to be implemented fairly. For that to happen there has to be a relatively stable environment on the ground." dpa sa ms L

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