Gusmao's warning to militias: disarm or die!

Krishna Lalbiharie umlalbi0 at SPAMcc.UManitoba.CA
Tue Aug 17 21:04:19 MDT 1999

Gusmao's warning to militias: disarm or die!

  Sydney Morning Herald
  By Yenny Zannuba in Jakarta

  Detained East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao has warned that his forces
will track down and kill Indonesian soldiers caught supplying weapons
  to rival pro-Jakarta militias.

  Only two weeks before a United Nations ballot to decide the future of
East Timor, Mr Gusmao accused Indonesia's military, or TNI, of planning
  to provoke a new wave of violence if the ballot favours independence.

  He said he did not believe the promise of the armed forces chief, General
Wiranto, that his men would stay neutral before and after the August 30
  ballot giving East Timorese a choice between autonomy or independence.
His comments are likely to increase tensions in East Timor as rival
  parties campaign around the territory, which was invaded by Indonesia in

  Under a United Nations- brokered agreement, about 8,000 Indonesian police
and 14,000 regular and territorial soldiers are responsible for
  maintaining law and order ahead of the ballot. Mr Gusmao's attack on the
armed forces comes amid reports that pro-Jakarta militia groups in the
  disputed territory have gathered hundreds of modern weapons, particularly
near the border with West Timor.

  "We can't trust the military, 20 years of experience taught us that," Mr
Gusmao said in Jakarta, where he is under house arrest.

  He feared the military planned to distribute weapons to pro-Jakarta
militias, which are backed and trained by the armed forces.

  "The guns will re-emerge, we know it will happen," he said.

  "In the eyes of the world they [the military] want to be seen as saints,
but behind our backs they will use one East Timorese to kill one another.

  "If Falintil ever get hold of one single gun given out to the militias,
we will track TNI down and kill them. Because they are the ones who make
  East Timorese kill other East Timorese."

  The UN has been urging pro- independence and pro-Jakarta groups to lay
down their weapons ahead of the ballot, but few have been handed over
  by pro-Jakarta militias.

  Mr Gusmao's guerillas have pledged to take their weapons to designated
areas and stay there during the campaign under the supervision of the UN.

  Mr Gusmao said the military's refusal to redeploy troops in the troubled
province was a sign it was planning to make trouble and sabotage a win
  for independence. "They will not accept the result and there will be
riots provoked by the military," he said.

  "They want the East Timorese to look as if they can't conciliate and
solve their own problems." Mr Gusmao is convinced East Timorese will vote
  for independence in a landslide, but ruled out being president in a new
independent government, preferring to stay outside so he could keep a check
  on the new government.

  "If I'm outside I would have a bigger moral authority," he said.

  Mr Gusmao said an independent East Timor would use Portuguese as its
national language, but Indonesian and English would be retained for
  "international and commercial purposes". He doubted the promise of
Indonesia's President, Dr B.J. Habibie, to release him the day after the
  Mr Gusmao was sentenced to 20 years' jail for rebellion in 1992 but since
early this year has been allowed to stay in a government-owned house
  and receive visitors.

  Mark Dodd reports from Dili: Mr Gusmao's deputy, Taur Matan Ruak, has
appealed to Falintil supporters to ensure the political campaign for the
  UN-supervised referendum passes peacefully. "I propose to the East
Timorese youth not to become radical during the campaign and ballot. You
  must obey Falintil commander Xanana Gusmao's order to proceed hand in
hand," he told the Suara Timor Timur (Voice of East Timor)
  newspaper. He appealed for his supporters to respect the views of their
political opponents and avoid intimidation.

  "Let the pro-integration militias do that if they want to. Let the
Indonesian Government do that if they want to so they are the ones who are

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