|Subject: Militia involvement?
- East Timor prime minister says former members of pro-Indonesian militias linked to violence
East Timor prime minister says former members of pro-Indonesian militias linked to violence
DILI East Timor, June 3 (AP) -- Former members of pro-Indonesian militias that devastated East Timor in 1999 carried out some of the recent violence in the capital, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Saturday.
"I was told that some actions the burning of houses and other violence, civil unrest some ex-militias are involved, militias of 1999," Alkatiri told The Associated Press.
Militias loyal to Indonesia went on a rampage in 1999 after East Timor voted to break away from Jakarta, its occupier. Since last month, fighting between factions of the military and gang warfare have killed at least 30 people.
Foreign Minister rejects reports linking RI to Timor Leste unrest
Jakarta, June 2 (ANTARA)- The Indonesian government rejects foreign media reports suggesting Indonesia may have something to do with the current untest in Timor Leste and is therefore ccntinuing to guard its borders with the neighbouring country tightly, a spoksman said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirajuda said here Friday in order squash the speculations, the government was keeping the border with Timor Leste closed so as to prevent elements involved in the insurgency in Timor Leste from entering Indonesia.
"We absolutely do not wish to bear the burden of being accused of involvement in Timor Leste's internal affairs," the minister said.
Some foreign media in their stories on the conflict in Timor Leste said Indonesia was possibly involved in the recent unrest and riots in Dili. They among other things cited the fact that documents allegedly proving the involvement of high-ranking Indonesian military officers including Gen.(ret) Wiranto in atrocities in East Timor (Timor Leste's former name) in 1999 had gone missing from the attorney general's office in Dili.
Hassan firmly denied that the Indonesian government was behind the loss of the documents.
"That's their business, We have nothing to do with it," he said.
Asked for how long the government would close the border with Timor Leste, the minister said this very much depended on developments in the situation in Timor Leste.
"We will see and observe developments. On the other hand, we don't want Timor Leste to have to suffer by the border's closure as they need the normal cross-border traffic in goods and services. So, perhaps we should reopen the border gradually," he said.
He said he talked with his Timor Leste counterpart, Ramos Horta, on Wednesday (May 31) and given the assurance that the border shutdown would not be alloed to hurt Timor leste's interest.
No evidence Indonesia behind ETimor unrest: Australian FM
DILI, June 3 (AFP) -- Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Saturday said there was no evidence that Indonesia was behind the bloody unrest in neighbouring East Timor.
Downer held talks in the capital Dili with his Timorese counterpart Jose Ramos Horta as well as Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who has hinted at foreign involvement in nearly two weeks of violence that left at least 20 dead.
"We have no evidence at all that any of the violence here in recent times has been coordinated by anybody in Indonesia, or that there has been any Indonesian involvement in it," Downer told reporters.
"Indonesia doesn't want to destabilise East Timor," he said. "I think East Timor can do without (such) canards."
Australia has supplied most of the 2,250 foreign troops sent it to quell the unrest. The troop presence was heavy in the streets for Downer's visit, and the capital was noticeably calmer than in recent days.
But as his press conference ended, plumes of black smoke again appeared over the city. A rollerskating rink next to a petrol station had been set ablaze, and timbers collapsed inside as flames leapt from under the roof.
Many houses and businesses have been torched in the unrest, and rival gangs from the east and west of the country have clashed in the streets with machetes, daggers and whatever other weapons they had to hand.
The violence began after Alkatiri sacked 600 of the country's 1,400-strong army after they went on strike to protest what they said was discrimination against those from the west of the country.
Westerners are generally seen as more pro-Indonesia, a sensitive issue in a country that fought a long and bloody guerrilla campaign to win independence from its larger neighbour.
Alkatiri has been largely blamed for the current crisis, but President Xanana Gusmao has so far resisted calls for him to be sacked.
The leader of the breakaway troops who were sacked, Major Alfredo Reinado, has said that Alkatiri must go before the crisis can be resolved.
------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service