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Mass graves at army post in East Timor

For immediate release: 11.30am AEST, Sunday 30 May 1999

MELBOURNE (Sunday 30 May): National Council for Timorese Resistance (CNRT) sources in East Timor say they believe the bodies of as many as 30 murdered independence supporters are buried in two mass graves covered with bitumen behind the Indonesian army engineer headquarters at Hera, outside Dili.

They say the victims were shot and hacked to death by the Aitarak militia group under Eurico Guterres. The disposal of the bodies was part of army support for the Aitarak attack.

Evidence of army direction and support for the militias continues to mount up day by day.

CNRT members now have evidence that three "Indonesian soldiers" killed in the Maliana district of East Timor a week ago were East Timorese who were murdered by their Indonesian comrades because of dissatisfaction with the Indonesian terror campaign.

There have been reports of unrest among East Timorese soldiers about the brutality and scope of the military and militia's reign of terror. With it reaching into every village in East Timor, the families of almost every East Timorese soldier would have been touched in some way.

The army publicly blamed the murders of the soldiers on the East Timorese resistance fighters, Falintil, and used that as an excuse to mobilise militias for a combined attack on independence supporters in the Lolotoi area.

The bodies of those killed in the attacks were taken away and dumped in the sea near Balibo on East Timor's north coast.

Soldiers from the Garuda (eagle) battalion and 143 battalion joined with militias to attack the villages of Fatubolu, Lisapat, Maubo, Urahou and Fatubessi, in the Hatolia area of the Ermera district over five days 10-14 May.

CNRT sources report "many" pro-independence people killed or wounded but say it is not yet possible to get accurate figures because of the continuing military activity in the area.

In the nearby Lete-Foho area, militias and the army are extorting payments of 750-thousand rupiahs in cash and goods from independence supporters, and arresting and torturing CNRT members.

Latest torture victims include the CNRT regional secretary, Bonifacio Dos Reis, the regional health official, Duarte Monie, regional coordinator, Ildefonso Dos Reis, and youth committee member, Tobias De Jesus.

Issued on behalf of UDT & CNRT by Geoffrey Heard & Associates, AUSTRALIA GH&A provides this service free to UDT and CNRT to promote freedom and peace for the people of East Timor ............

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