|Subject: NYT: Indonesia Is Pressed To End
The New York Times September 9, 2000, Saturday
HEADLINE: SUMMIT IN NEW YORK: THE ATROCITIES; Indonesia Is Pressed To End Terror By Militias
By CHRISTOPHER S. WREN UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 8
The Security Council tonight condemned the murder of three United Nations refugee workers in West Timor on Wednesday and insisted that the Indonesian government take immediate steps to disarm and disband the militias that are believed to be responsible for the killings.
In a resolution approved by all 15 member countries, the Council declared itself "appalled" by what it called "this outrageous and contemptible act against unarmed international staff who were in West Timor to help the refugees."
It further told Indonesian authorities to adopt "immediate and effective measures" to ensure the safe return of as many as 100,000 refugees who fled attacks in East Timor last year after its residents voted for independence from Indonesia. Many refugees now want to go home but have been intimidated against doing so by the marauding militias.
United Nations workers could not return to West Timor, the Council said, until the Indonesian government credibly guaranteed their security. This included "real progress" toward disarming and disbanding the militias, who have resisted independence for East Timor with covert arms and backing from supporters within the Indonesian military.
Moctar Ouane of Mali, who holds the Council's rotating presidency this month, announced that the Council would also send a delegation to Indonesia and East Timor to help carry out its resolution.
The Council sent a delegation to East Timor a year ago when a massacre erupted after the independence vote. As a result, the United Nations decided to administer the territory's transition to self-rule.
Remarking on the climate that led to the latest murders in West Timor, the United States representative to the United Nations, Richard C. Holbrooke, told reporters that "directly or indirectly, it is elements within the Indonesian military who are responsible for this, who could have been removed a long time ago."
"We don't know exactly who's behind it," Mr. Holbrooke said. "If we know exactly who it is, we'll deal with them."
The three victims, who were killed by a mob linked to a local militia group, worked for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in West Timor. They were Carlos Caceres, 33, who was from from Puerto Rico; Samson Aregehegn, 44, an Ethiopian; and Pero Simundsa, 29, a Croat.
The Security Council adopted its resolution only hours after Indonesia's president, Abdurrahman Wahid, conveyed his nation's "very deep sorrow" for their "horrific death." He promised to punish the killers.
"We are in disbelief and outraged that such unspeakable crimes were committed against the good people of the U.N.H.C.R.," Mr. Wahid said in a letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan. "The people of Indonesia mourn with the families of those who were brutally murdered."
"We condemn the perpetrators of this criminal act, who appear to be disguising themselves as pro-integrationist East Timorese," he said, "and we vow to bring them to justice."
He said that calm had been restored in Atambua, the town where the killings took place.
"I think now the situation is very good there," Mr. Wahid said. "That is according to the full report I got this morning."
Despite his assurances, sketchy reports surfaced of a new massacre of as many as 20 civilians, in Betun, about 40 miles from Atambua, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Mr. Wahid said that two military battalions had been sent to Atambua and that the authorities had detained 19 people there on suspicion of ransacking the United Nations office. Another man, he said, had been detained in connection with the killing of a militia leader, Olivio Mendonca, whose funeral on Wednesday brought militia supporters together before they attacked the office.
The attack in Atambua, coming after continuous harassment by the militias, has forced the United Nations to pull its staff out of West Timor. The last of more than 400 employees of the United Nations and other aid groups were flown out today, with no plans for their return.
"It's more a question of 'if' rather than 'when,' " said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the high commissioner for refugees.
Mr. Redmond said his office had repeatedly asked the Indonesian authorities to separate "these militia thugs" from the refugees in the camps.
"None of the assurances we have been given have been met, and now we have three people dead," Mr. Redmond said. "So far as we're concerned, the time for words has passed and we want to see some action on the ground."
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