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USIS Washington File

29 September 1999

Text: State Department on Murder of Religious Officials in Timor

(U.S. strongly condemns "wanton act of murder")  (430)
The United States condemns the murder of nine religious officials and
staff who were fired upon by a unit of the Indonesian military while
driving between Los Palos and Bau Cau in East Timor, the State
Department said in a September 29 statement.
According to the State Department, the group of civilians reportedly
had been involved in moving relief supplies to assist East Timorese
who had fled Indonesian military and militia violence over the past
month.
"The United States strongly condemns this wanton act of murder carried
out against innocent civilians seeking to provide humanitarian
assistance to those in need. Such acts, horrific in themselves, also
impede the humanitarian response to hundreds of thousands of East
Timorese in urgent need of relief aid," the State Department said.
"We call upon the Government of Indonesia to move swiftly and
transparently to identify the perpetrators of this brutal and cowardly
attack and to bring those responsible to justice," the State
Department continued.
Following is the State Department text of the statement:
(begin text)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
September 29, 1999
#99/841
STATEMENT BY JAMES P. RUBIN, SPOKESMAN
UNITED STATES CONDEMNS MURDER OF NINE RELIGIOUS OFFICIALS
 AND STAFF IN EAST TIMOR
The United States Embassy in Jakarta has confirmed church and press
reports that nine religious officials and staff, accompanied by an
Indonesian journalist, were murdered while driving in a vehicle
between Los Palos and Bau Cau in East Timor. The initial reports
indicate that their vehicle was hit by automatic weapons fired by a
unit of the Indonesian military, which was evacuating the area.
Reportedly, the group of civilians had been involved in moving relief
supplies to assist East Timorese, who had fled Indonesian military and
militia violence over the past month.
The United States strongly condemns this wanton act of murder carried
out against innocent civilians seeking to provide humanitarian
assistance to those in need. Such acts, horrific in themselves, also
impede the humanitarian response to hundreds of thousands of East
Timorese in urgent need of relief aid.
We call upon the Government of Indonesia to move swiftly and
transparently to identify the perpetrators of this brutal and cowardly
attack and to bring those responsible to justice.
The State Department expresses its deep regret over the loss of these
latest victims of the violence afflicting East Timor.
(end text)



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