The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW




Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, - The commander of the East Timor Pro-integration Forces (PPI), Joao da Silva Tavares, said Friday evening he had ordered his 53,000 men to end their rampaging actions in all parts of the territory.

"At 11 a.m. Thursday, I ordered them to stop the rampages. If you go to East Timor now, you will no longer hear gunshots or see people burning (houses and buildings)," he told ANTARA here.

Tavares said he had gathered all regional PPI commanders in a house in Atambua district, East Nusa Tenggara province, to inform them of the order.

The rampages, he explained, were triggered by the pro-integration camp's dissatisfaction over ballot-related fraud, which he noted were intentionally carried out by certain personnel of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) during the registration period and on voting day.

"My men felt sure they would win in the historic vote, but they were cheated (of this victory). As human beings, they will of course be emotional. We cannot accept such maltreatment," he said.

He further said that their struggle for their destiny will be carried out through political channels and that under the state of military emergency, security in East Timor will be restored by the Indonesian military.

He however vowed that pro-integration fighters will continue to protect all loyalists of the pro-autonomy camp who have fled East Timor and sought refuge in safer grounds.

If members of the Falintil, the armed wing of the National Resistance Council for East Timor (CNRT), attack PPI members guarding the refugees, he said his men will face them.

He also warned pro-independence supporters who have taken refuge in Atambua, Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara), Denpasar (Bali) and cities in Java island, to stay away "to avoid unexpected occurrences".

Five years

Tavares further said that if the Falintil fought for East Timor's separation from Indonesia for 23 years, PPI would need only five years to fight for East Timor's integration with the republic.

As an Indonesian in East Timor, he said he will always do his best to prevent the credibility of his beloved country, Indonesia, from being ruined before the eyes of the international community.

"We will never get out of our homeland, East Timor, and we will remain as citizens of Indonesia," he said.

As for the Indonesian military troops assigned to restore peace and order in East Timor, Tavares suggested they move out of the territory so that the hardcore pro-autonomy camp could show its nationalism and love for the republic.

"The sooner the Indonesian armed forces leave East Timor, the better. And please (let the) Falintil members show up, we are ready to face them. If they don't, we will remain friendly to all people. PPI members will harm nobody if they are not disturbed," he said.

In the Aug 30 autonomy ballot, organized and supervised by the UNAMET, 78.5 percent of the valid votes, or 344,850 votes, rejected Jakarta's offer of autonomy under Indonesia, while 21.5 percent accepted the offer.

Tavares also called on pro-independence loyalists who have sought refuge elsewhere following the violence that escalated soon after the UN announced the ballot result, to return home.

"We suggest they return (home). If they won in the ballot, why did they have to leave the territory? I am confused (about this). If I won, I would party. Why should I run away?" he asked.

To continue struggle

Meanwhile, Jorge Tavares, one of the top executives of the Forum for Unity, Democracy and Justice (FPDK), said the pro-integration camp would continue its struggle for justice over the ballot fraud perpetrated by UNAMET personnel, despite the fact that the Indonesian government had officially accepted the ballot's outcome.

He again elaborated on the ballot-related fraud committed by UNAMET personnel, saying that hundreds of voters who had witnessed and experienced the UNAMET officers' partisan acts and behavior on balloting day had duly given their testimonies. Still, the UNAMET proceeded to announce the ballot's result on Sept.4 or three days earlier than scheduled (Sept.7), he said.

He said the pro-autonomy camp was ready to accept the ballot's result if the balloting process had run fairly, transparently and democratically.

To the FPDK, he said, the rampageous actions committed by PPI members were understandable as a manifestation of their feeling of having been cheated by United Nations personnel and become a victim of an international conspiracy.

Among the people who attended the meeting between Tavares and pro autonomy leaders in his home in Atambua were PPI deputy chief Eurico Guterres, FPDK general chairman Domingos MD Soares as well as Mauricio Freitas, Jorge Tavares, Sera Malik and Vitorino dos Santos.

Soon after the meeting, Eurico Guterres, who is also commander of Aitarak (one of the armed organisations of the pro-integration camp), returned to Dili over land to spread the PPI commander's order to stop the rampaging actions and not to harm refugees on their way to Atambua in East Nusatenggara.

Meanwhile, some 232 teachers from East Timor were reported to have arrived at six refugee camp sites in Atambua. They consisted of 14 kindergarten teachers, 113 junior high school teachers and 105 senior high school teachers.

Immanuel Ulu, head of East Timor province's education office, predicted the number of teachers leaving the violence-wracked territory would increase.

Some 300 other teachers in the eastern part of East Timor, including Baucau, Viqueque and Lautem, could not yet get out of Baucau, about 130 kms east of Dili.

"I was informed that it was difficult to evacuate them by land so a C130 plane must be sent to Bacau to take them out," he said.


Source : Antara, September 12, 1999

1997, Embassy of Indonesia, Ottawa-Canada
Last Updated: September 16, 1999 by Dd.

Join the mailing list