Subject: Border Incident Under Investigation

Also - RI Wants Joint Investigation Into E Timor Border Shooting Incident




Saturday, 7 January 2006

For Immediate Release


Yesterday, 6 January 2006, three suspected militia men were fatally wounded near Tunubibi, Bobonaro District in Timor-Leste, near the border with the Republic of Indonesia. The Timor-Leste government is investigating the incident and has advised the Indonesian Embassy that Indonesian officials are invited to take part in the investigation.

A routine Border Patrol Unit (BPU) made up of four Timor-Leste police observed three men covertly approaching them at around 11 am. Upon being sighted these men withdrew into the thick vegetation. The first member of the BPU was then unexpectedly attacked by an assailant who attempted to seize his patrol machine gun. Immediately after this two other members of the BPU were simultaneously attacked in an attempt to gain their weapons too. The fourth member of the BPU was some distance further behind.

During this process one of the BPU police officers fatally shot the man who had attacked him and then fatally shot the two other assailants attacking his colleagues. Three of the BPU officers were injured, with one immediately requiring hospitalization for head and hand wounds.

One of the assailants was instantly recognized by the police officers and has since been officially identified as Mr. José Mau Sorte. He was a known militia member who was frequently sighted in Cailaco and Atabae and was involved in a bus holdup in Atsabe in 2002. He is listed as a militia member by the Serious Crime Unit and is wanted for crimes against humanity.

Reports in the media that the men were merely fishing are illogical. It is the rainy season and heavy rains have been falling resulting in the Malibaca River running rapidly with some flood water problems. These types of conditions would make fishing in the river impossible.

Autopsies and investigations are currently underway by the Timor-Leste police with the assistance of an advisor from the United Nations. To ensure further transparency the Government of Timor-Leste has contacted the Indonesian Embassy to request that Indonesia observe the investigation. The Timor-Leste government is taking this investigation very seriously and is concerned about the continued border occurrences.


For further information please contact: Madalena Filipe or Sally McDonald
Direcção das Relasões Públicas do MNEC, E-mail: Phone: 723 0058 Fax: +670 3 333 9025


Jan 07 16:59

RI Wants Joint Investigation Into E Timor Border Shooting Incident

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government wants a shooting incident on the Indonesian-Timor Leste border in which three Indonesians were killed investigated by a joint team, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said here Saturday.

"We have received a report from the Indonesian Embassy in Dili on the incident. We want a joint investigation into the happening," Yuri M Thamrin, the spokesman, said.

Yuri said, the report from the Indonesian Ambassador to Timor Leste Ahmed Bey Sofwan, quoted Timor Leste authorities as saying the shooting occurred when five Indonesians were fishing in Malibaka River.

One of them went up to the river bank to take corn.

"According to the Timor Leste authorities, their patroling officers wanted to arrest (the Indonesians) but the latter resisted. And then the shooting happened," Yuri said.

The Indonesian government had asked Timor Leste to return the remains of the three Indonesians which were being kept in a hospital in Bobonaro district to their families.

Dili had also called for better communication with the Indonesian security personnel to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Yuri said, the shooting incident had sparked anger on the part of the families of the fatalities but Indonesian security personnel could calm them and prevent the worsening of the situation.

"Commanders of Indonesian and Timor Leste border security forces have met and coordinated with one another on the settlement of the case. The situation is normal now," Yuri said.

Three of the five Indonesians were reportedly shot to death on Malibaka River on Friday, allegedly by Timor Leste patroling police.

Kupang Military District Commander Col Inf. Noch Bola confirmed the incident saying the three villagers of Tohe identified as Candido Mariano, 26, Jose Mauhorte, 38, and Stanis Maubere, 48, died at the location.

The two others, namely Egidio and Elias Tavares, managed to escape.

They were fired on by Timor Leste border police patrol (Unidade Patrohamento Frontiera --UPF) on the tactical coordinating line (TCL) in Malibaka River, some 25 kilometers from Atambua in the Indonesian province of East Nusatenggara.

Noch Bola said he has worked on coordination with UPF chief in Timor Leste to handle the problem.

Based on information from Belu police chief Adjunct Senior commissioner Ekotrio Budhiniar, the five villagers were fishing in the river when suddenly a Timor Leste police patrol shot at them from the other side of the river.(*)



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