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Indon Military Shot Dutch Journalism In E Timor

Indon Military Shot Dutch Journalism In E Timor - Coroner

DARWIN, Australia (AP)--A coroner concluded Thursday that a Dutch journalist who was killed in East Timor last year was probably shot by Indonesian soldiers.

But an inquest into the death of Sander Thoenes, who was killed the day after the first soldiers of a foreign peacekeeping force arrived to restore order, was hampered by a lack of witnesses from the Indonesian military, coroner Greg Cavanagh said.

Sander Thoenes, who worked for the Christian Science Monitor and Financial Times newspapers, was killed on Sept. 21. His mutilated body was found the following day in a suburb of East Timor's capital, Dili.

Cavanagh, a magistrate sitting as coroner in Australia's Northern Territory, examined what evidence could be gathered on the killing and released his

report Thursday.

"I find that on all of the evidence available thus far, it is probable that a member or members of the 745 battalion of the TNI (Indonesian military) shot the deceased," Cavanagh said.

"However, in the absence of full witness availability and without an examination and cross examination of those witnesses from that battalion, I am unable to completely discount the possibility that the assailant or assailants were not TNI members but a person or persons dressed in the uniform of the TNI," he said.

The U.N. civilian police force in East Timor said its investigation of Thoenes' killing had focussed on Battalion 745, but that Indonesian authorities hadn't cooperated fully.

Thones was killed at a road block in the Dili suburb of Becora. An American and British journalist were also attacked in the same area the day.

Foreign peacekeepers entered East Timor to end a rampage by Indonesian military-backed militias which was triggered by an Aug. 30 referendum in

which East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia, which had annexed the territory after a bloody 1975 invasion.

+++niuswire

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