Subject: Indonesia Urged to Probe Soldier's Shooting on E. Timor Border

The Jakarta Post Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Govt urged to probe shooting of soldier

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang, West Nusa Tenggara

The West Nusa Tenggara provincial administration called on the central government to hold talks with the East Timor government to ensure a thorough investigation into the recent shooting of an Indonesian Military (TNI) soldier on the border between the two countries.

The move was necessary to avoid security instability in the area.

"We have asked the central government to handle the shooting incident thoroughly and the (East Timor) policeman who fired on the soldier must be brought to justice," West Nusa Tenggara deputy governor Frans Leburaya said when asked to comment on the case here on Monday.

First Lieutenant Tedy Setiawan was shot by East Timor police on a bank of the Malibaca River in Makir Village, Belu regency, on April 21 as he and several other soldiers pursued a number of East Timorese suspected of trying to smuggle goods into East Timor.

Frans also reminded the relevant local authorities of the rampant smuggling of basic commodities into East Timor from the province -- something facilitated by the fact that the 200-kilometer border has only 58 check points.

Col. Amir Hamka Manan, chief of the Wirasakti Military District responsible for military affairs in West Timor, concurred and said the military had stationed three battalions of soldiers along the border area, but they were not equipped with the necessary equipment to perform their main duties effectively.

Kristo Blasin, deputy chairman of the West Nusa Tenggara provincial legislature, said that the rampant smuggling had a lot to do with the prolonged economic crisis in East Timor.

"Therefore, the TNI and the police must take strict measures against the smugglers and East Timorese entering Indonesia illegally," he said, adding that the government should also pay more attention to the welfare of the soldiers deployed along the border.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNMISET), Sukehiro Hasegawa, said in Dili, the capital of East Timor, that UNMISET would carry out a thorough investigation into the incident and establish procedures for preventing such incidents from occurring in the future.

"Both Indonesia and Timor Leste (East Timor) have agreed that in accordance with the June 24, 2004, Military Liaison Agreement signed between the UNMISET Military Component and the TNI, UNMISET is to play a lead and facilitative role in this inquiry, and will carry out its work according to the Terms of Reference agreed by both countries, and submit its findings to UNMISET within a period of two weeks," he said in a press release.

He said that UNMISET was deeply concerned over the incident, and that was why he had visited the scene of the shooting after the incident.

He called on all sides to cooperate to ensure the success of the investigation.

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