E Timor border at 'flashpoint'




 
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October 20th, 2005  
Locke
 
 

Topic: E Timor border at 'flashpoint'


Taken from The Australian

E Timor border at 'flashpoint'
October 20, 2005

A MOB backed by Indonesian troops has crossed into East Timor, attacked a border patrol and set fire to buildings, threatening the fragile peace between the two nations.

The incident on Saturday in the Oecussi enclave, detailed in a UN cable seen by The Australian, poses a nightmare scenario for Canberra.

The cable - sent on Monday by UN chief in East Timor Sukehiro Hasegawa to head of peacekeeping operations Jean Marie Guehenno in New York - accuses the Indonesian military (TNI) of provoking multiple border violations in Oecussi.

Mr Hasegawa warns Dili has threatened to pull out of the East Timor-Indonesia Truth and Friendship Commission, following the collapse of tense border takes because of Jakarta's failure to stop incursions by the feared "Okto" militia that started at the beginning of the month.

He expressed grave concern at the prospects of an escalation in violence after the breakdown in the talks, aimed at securing an agreement on a border demarcation for the enclave.

On Saturday, two East Timorese police were wounded and forced to fire 15 warning shots after they were attacked by a mob of 200 Indonesian villagers, armed with stones and improvised weapons, who had advanced almost 1km across the border from Manusasi.

"Seven TNI soldiers were seen at the rear of the group, clearly condoning, if not encouraging, this action," he says.

Mr Hasegawa says he received a telephone call from East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta threatening to pull out of the CTF. "Horta did not hide his anger as he found arrogance and intransigence in the behaviour of some TNI elements and inability of the government to control them."

Opposed by the Catholic Church and unpopular with the East Timorese populace, the CTF commits the two countries to co-operate in the investigation of the mayhem before and after the 1999 UN-backed independence referendum.

Diplomatic sources told The Australian that if Dili withdrew from the TCF, relations between East Timor and Indonesia could plunge into crisis.

Mr Hasegawa warns the border is at flashpoint, saying Jakarta has deployed the notorious Battalion 745 - implicated in the 1999 murder of church workers and Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes - on garrison duty along the West Timor frontier.

The Australian yesterday reported on a cable sent by Mr Hasegawa last Wednesday in which he reports violent border incursions on October 4 and 9 by the "Okto" militia.

This is most likely the militia led by Moko Soares, who took part in the massacre of 47 East Timorese men at Passabe in 1999 and is believed responsible for several gun battles with Australian peacekeepers in Oecussi.
October 20th, 2005  
Locke
 
 
taken from News.com


East Timor rejects flashpoint reports
From: AAP

October 20, 2005


EAST Timor has rejected reports a mob backed by Indonesian troops crossed into the country, attacked a border patrol and set fire to buildings, threatening peace between the two nations.
East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said the violence in the Oecussi region was the result of civilian disputes over land and was not caused by pro-Indonesian militia.

He said on ABC radio East Timor was confident it had the Indonesian military's full co-operation in securing the border between the two countries.

"The Indonesia side obviously is acting in good faith," Mr Ramos-Horta said.

"We have the greatest faith in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"We cannot forget that the last several years, overall, the border has been very peaceful it has to be credited to the Indonesian military leadership.

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"I do not believe that it is the policy of the TNI (Indonesian military) to support the militias."

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was unavailable for immediate comment.

Media reports said a United Nations cable, sent on Monday by UN chief in East Timor Sukehiro Hasegawa to head of peacekeeping operations in New York, accused the Indonesian military of provoking multiple border violations in Oecussi.

Mr Hasegawa reportedly warned Dili had threatened to pull out of the East Timor-Indonesia Truth and Friendship Commission, following the collapse of tense border talks because of Jakarta's failure to stop incursions by the feared Okto militia.