Military's thugs bring new threat.

Krishna Lalbiharie umlalbi0 at SPAMcc.UManitoba.CA
Wed Aug 25 16:29:17 MDT 1999



Military's thugs bring new threat.

  25/08/99
  Sydney Morning Herald
  By Mark Dodd

  Several hundred thugs refused observer status by the United Nations have
begun arriving in East Timor's provincial capital, Dili, raising fears of
  violence only days before the historic vote on self- determination,
diplomats and UN officials said yesterday.

  Known as permudaan or youth group, the men are funded by the military
intelligence arm of the Indonesian Government, senior UN and Western
  diplomatic sources told the Herald. "More than 100 are on their way here
by boat. They were rejected by the UN as observers," said one UN
  official. His claims were later verified by several senior Western
diplomats in Dili.

  "These are the thugs who started all the trouble in Ambon and Jakarta,"
said one diplomat, referring to last year's Jakarta riots that left hundreds
  dead amid an orgy of looting and arson that led to the resignation of
president Soeharto.

  Asked what action the United Nations Assistance Mission on East Timor
(UNAMET) could take to head off trouble by the thugs, one UN official
  told the Herald: "Nothing really. These people are funded by a government
department."

  One group of "fit young men" were seen last weekend at Dili port,
disembarking from an inter-island ferry out of strife-torn Ambon.

  Despite assurances of support from Jakarta that its security forces can
maintain order in East Timor, the UN is known to be concerned about a
  "separate command structure" operated by an intelligence agency known as
the SGI, with links to Indonesia's Special Forces Command
  (Kopassus).

  "If Jakarta wanted to stop the vote [being implemented], before is better
than after when the international pressure would be greater. It doesn't take
  many resources to carry out threats. It takes some co-operation from the
TNI (army), a handful of guns and a few active militia to create havoc,"
  one senior diplomat warned.

  In south-west Suai, the UN reported the local Bupati (mayor) had finally
restored mains water to more than 2,000 internally displaced people
  crammed into a local church grounds surrounded by militia.

  "The situation in Suai is really bad," a UN official said.

  "It's the biggest accident waiting to happen that we have.

  One aid official, who asked not to be named, said: "Humanitarian agencies
are s--- scared of doing anything there. They are scared of being
  attacked.".

  Many UN and aid officials based in Dili have been threatened by
pro-Jakarta militia and their army backers.

  Militia have been blamed for a grenade thrown into the church grounds
last week. Luckily it did not explode.

  The Bupati has also refused to allow a humanitarian convoy access to the
refugees in Suai because they have spoken to the media and international
  officials about their plight.

  Following discussions in Jakarta between East Timorese leaders, an
agreement has been reached to form an East Timorese Consultative
  Commission to be inaugurated the day after the vote. Made up of 25
members - 10 nominated by each side and five appointed by the UN
  Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan - the commission will be responsible for
fostering reconciliation and co-operation until the result of the vote is
  implemented











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