|Subject: Witness to Balibo Five killings dies
Witness to Balibo Five killings dies
By Jill Jolliffe September 19, 2005
A WITNESS to the killing of five journalists in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975 has died in Dili months before a new inquiry by the NSW Coroner's Court.
Olandino Maia Guterres accused former Indonesian minister Yunus Yosfiah in 1998 of ordering the deaths of the five television reporters after they filmed an attack on the border town.
Official reports claimed the men Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham and Tony Stewart of Channel Seven and Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters of Channel Nine were killed in a crossfire.
Mr Guterres entered Balibo with the Indonesian troops. He told the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program that he heard Mr Yosfiah give the order to shoot the men as they tried to surrender. He said he also saw him fire shots at them.
East Timorese police commander Paulo Martins said by phone from Dili yesterday that Mr Guterres had apparently died of kidney failure.
NSW Coroner John Abernethy said in June that he would hold an inquest into the death of Brian Peters after a request from Peters' sister Maureen Tolfree, of Bristol, England.
The inquest has been given documents from a UN inquiry to which Mr Guterres and others testified. But that inquiry stalled after Indonesia's attorney-general blocked access to witnesses.
The inquest has some sweeping powers and will be held early next year.