Subject: Wiranto reveals: 3,700 Indon Soldiers Died in E Timor Occupation
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 09:29:33 -0400

Dow Jones Newswires September 20, 1999

Occupation Of E Timor Cost 3,700 Indonesian Lives-Wiranto

JAKARTA (AP)--Indonesia lost 3,700 troops during the first five years of its occupation of the former Portuguese colony, the country's top general revealed Monday.

The previously classified figure squares with generally accepted estimates that between 5,000 and 10,000 Indonesian troops died in the quarter-century effort to keep East Timor. The final tally is still secret.

Defense Minister Gen. Wiranto, who is also the armed forces chief, also told parliament that 2,400 soldiers were seriously injured in the fighting that followed Indonesia's 1975 invasion.

During the invasion, Indonesia's largest military operation ever, the heavily armed military failed to subdue a ragtag band of resistance fighters who remain operational to this day in the mountains.

The attack, and subsequent efforts to stamp out the insurgency, also cost the lives of some 200,000 East Timorese civilians. Most died of starvation after they were forcibly resettled into strategic hamlets controlled by the army.

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians are believed to have died in an orgy of killings, burnings and mass deportation by troops and their militia allies after last month's U.N.-supervised referendum on the territory's future.

Almost four-fifths of East Timor's voters had opted to break with Indonesia.


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