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East Timor - New Update

Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173,

Issued 19 April 1999

Kia ora,

Below are two messages re the worsening situation in East Timor

- the first is from the East Timor Action Network ( US), which came with US and UN contacts - we have changed the fax codes for sending from here and added in the contact details for Don McKinnon and Jenny Shipley;

- the second is a press release from the East Timor Independence Committee (Auckland) calling again for the NZ government to immediately cut its military links with Indonesia.

Subject: Urgent Action Alert for East Timor Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999

Earlier today (Saturday, 4/17) more than 1000 armed pro-Indonesian paramilitary members took control of the streets of Dili.

Current reports confirm at least 13 dead so far and many more wounded although it is impossible to know the full extent of the damage and violence. At this moment the paramilitaries are marauding through the capital, attacking civilians, shooting into buildings, and ransacking and burning homes. Part of Becora market and at least six houses have been razed. The streets are empty save for the paramilitary groups and the accompanying special mobile police units. The military and police are refusing to halt the violence, instead providing water and cigarettes to the paramilitaries.

At least 275 people (including civil servants, CNRT(National Council of Timorese Resistence) members, East Timorese NGO leaders, and reconciliation advocates) are believed to be on a death list. Militias have threatened that Bishop Belo will be assassinated on Sunday (tomorrow).

The targetting of the pro-independence leadership appears to have begun at the home of Manuel Carrascalao, leader of the Movement for the Reconciliation and Unity of the People of East Timor. Militias firing automatic weapons supplied by the Indonesian army attacked his home today, killing an undetermined number of the 140 refugees, mainly women and children, living in Carrascalao's back yard. Carrascalao's son is also reported dead.

Photographers were told they would be shot if they took pictures. Foreign journalists have been attacked and few are reporting from the streets.

It appears that the ABRI-supported paramilitary rampage may have only just begun. There are threats that their "cleanup operation" will continue until at least Monday.

PLEASE CALL OR FAX THE FOLLOWING IMMEDIATELY! (on Saturday or Sunday if possible):

  • US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, 00 1 202-647-5291 fax: 00 1 202-647-6434
  • Kofi Annan -- 00 1 212-963-5012
  • Indonesian President BJ Habbie --

In Aotearoa / New Zeaalnd :

  • Indonesian embassy, tel (04) 475 8699; fax (04) 475 9374 or write to 70 Glen Road, Kelburn, Wellington,
  • Contact Jenny Shipley and Don McKinnon - Prime Minister's office tel (04) 471 9998; fax (04) 473 7045; Don McKinnon's office tel 471 9999; fax 471 1444 or write to them at Parliament Buildings, Wellington (no stamp needed).

Tell them:

- the military and paramilitary killings in East Timor must stop and the paramilitaries must be disarmed and disbanded immediately

- a continuing UN and International monitoring presence must be allowed in East Timor immediately For more information & a copy of a press release for local use contact:

John Miller

18 April, 1999.

MEDIA RELEASE: McKinnon asked to suspend military ties to Indonesia immediately

The East Timor Independence Committee has faxed the Foreign Affairs Minister calling on him to immediately end New Zealand's military training ties to Indonesia. This call comes in the wake of yesterday's killing rampage in East Timor's capital Dili which was conducted by armed militia actively encouraged by the Indonesian military.

"I am both anguished and outraged by the this latest tragedy" said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the East Timor Independence Committee. "The situation was bad when I was in East Timor a week ago but it is infinitely worse now. The homes and offices of the people I met in East Timor who were working for independence and helping human rights victims have all come under the most brutal attack. Even the newspaper office was trashed, and now there are threats to Bishop Belo. Many of the refugees I met in the house of Manuel Carrascalao were murdered yesterday - maybe some of the children. Mr Carrascalao's 17 year old son is dead because he would not abandon the people his family were helping."

"Eurico Guterres the leader of the new grouping of militia - Aitarak -is urging on his followers to commit these atrocities saying that they should 'clean up the traitors of integration'. High government officials and the Indonesian military heard these words at yesterday's rally, and stood by while Guterres and his lethal followers began their bloody task."

"New Zealand cannot continue to have military training links to a military force which is actively condoning and supporting the actions of these murderous thugs. We have therefore urged that the Foreign Affairs Minister announce an immediate cancellation of all further training of Indonesian military personnel."

"New Zealand should also now use every ounce of its diplomatic leverage to ensure that a United Nations peacekeeping force goes to East Timor immediately. Our own troops should of course be part of that force."

For further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-849-3890

Maire Leadbeater, East Timor Independence Committee, P.O. Box 68-419, Auckland, New Zealand. .

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