|Subject: Militia leaders send conflicting signals
Date: Sat, 02 Oct 1999 09:16:53 -0400
East Timor militia leader calls his men to prepare for guerrilla war
JAKARTA, Sept 28 (AFP) - An East Timorese militia leader has called on his men to prepare bases for a guerilla campaign to reclaim their territory, a report said Tuesday.
Eurico Guterres, deputy commander of the Front for Integration Fighters (PPI), the organization grouping all pro-Jakarta militias, made the call to war at a rally in the West Timorese border town of Atambua after dusk Monday, the Indonesian state Antara news agency said.
"After receiving instructions from the commander of the battalions and after a strong consolidation, the entire PPI personnel will immediately open guerrilla bases," Guterres said.
Guterres, who along with hundreds of militia moved to West Timor in recent weeks, added at the same time his men should try to win the sympathy of the East Timorese people.
He also expressed his thanks to PPI members who stayed loyal to the front and had not been influenced by the "pseudo-victory" of the pro-independence East Timorese in an August 30 ballot.
The ballot, organized by the United Nations, showed 78.5 percent of voters opted to break away from Indonesia, which invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year. Only 21.5 percent voted to accept Indonesia's offer of autonomy.
Guterres repeated the pro-Indonesian line that the poll had been rigged by the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).
The long-haired militia leader also warned members of the international peacekeeping force for East Timor (Interfet), especially Australians, to stop "arresting and torturing" his comrades.
Interfet began deploying in East Timor last week and is led by Australia.
"We are ready to engage in guerilla (warfare) against Interfet," said Olivio Moruk, commander of the Covalima-based Laksaur Red and White militia.
But Guterres also said PPI members had the responsibility to "draw" people to their cause."
"There should no longer be people claiming to be members of the PPI but who engage in intimidation and terror against the people. They should be able to draw the sympathy of the people," Guterres said.
The militias' supreme commander, Joao da Silva Tavares, has exhorted his men to change tactics and try to win over the people with "good communication and friendship" in the "long struggle" to win back East Timor for Indonesia.
The Antara news agency said it had received a signed copy of Tavares' written instructions "to all commanders." It was dated September 25.
"In relation to the recent shooting, stealing and looting of wealth and stockpiles, intimidation and unrest towards the people ... I must instruct a halt to such actions as these," Tavares said.
Firm "preventive and curative" measures, were needed, he added, and he would not tolerate actions "which violate the law."
He also expressed his "sympathy and concern" for the "many brutal actions by individuals using the name of PPI."
The Indonesian army-backed militia carried out an unchecked campaign of terror, arson and murder in East Timor after the announcement on September 4 of the ballot results.
The capital Dili and most other major towns were reduced to ashes before world outrage resulted in the deployment of Interfet.
Tavares and hundreds of the militia have since poured over the border into Indonesian-ruled West Timor, while those who remained in the East are being rounded up and disarmed by Interfet.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed concern the militia now control camps in West Timor housing some 230,000 East Timorese refugees.
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