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TIMOR TODAY 21/12/99

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1. Oecussi mass grave may contain up to 52 bodies: Interfet 21/12/99 DILI, East Timor, (AFP) - Australian soldiers have found 14 bodies and were told by witnesses that another 38 are buried in a mass grave in Oecussi, East Timor, the commander of international troops in the territory said on Monday. "If all these bodies are actually found, that would be a very big discovery," Major-Gen. Peter Cosgrove, commander of the International Force for East Timor (Interfet), said. "We believe the people responsible for murdering them and burying them made a mistake in that they probably thought they were in West Timor, because of the closeness of the location," Plunkett said.

2. Shooting scare for Timor peace force 21/12/99 (Sydney Morning Herald) Dili: United Nations military observers were called to negotiate with Indonesian soldiers along the western border of East Timor on Saturday after shots were fired close to Australian army engineers doing humanitarian work, witnesses said. No-one was hurt in the incident in which some 35 shots were fired by Indonesian soldiers from their side of the border, near Memo hamlet in Maliana district, where Australian soldiers from Sydney-based 3 Combat Engineer Regiment were repairing a church about 100 metres from the border.

3. The Way Forward for East Timor 21/12/99 TOKYO û (International Herald Tribune) by Xanana Gusmpo After the storm that East Timor faced this year, what is its political vision for the future? We wish to create an inclusive society. All East Timorese, regardless of their political background, have a role to play in the reconstruction of the country. We have supported the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor, in establishing a National Consultative Council which is inclusive of all East Timorese groups that are committed to a peaceful, democratic way forward.

4. Timorese want share of concert star-dust 21/12/99 (The Australian) EAST Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao has sought guarantees from the producers of tonightÆs $1 million concert for peace-enforcement troops that the people of Dili will also benefit from the star-studded event. Up to 8000 people, including as many as 3000 troops, are expected to attend the concert, headlined by Kylie Minogue and John Farnham.

5. UK pledges long-term support for people of East Timor 21/12/99 (Department for International Development) The UK today signalled its commitment to the future of East Timor, pledging ú13 million to support reconstruction and development. The pledge which was announced by the Department for International Development (DFID) at a meeting of international donors in Tokyo, will be channelled through Trust Funds which have been set up by the World Bank and the United Nations to coordinate the international aid effort.

6. Indonesian Attorney General Backs Truth Commission 21/12/99 (Washington Post) JAKARTA, IndonesiaùAttorney General Marzuki Darusman says he favors establishing a South African-style truth commission that would allow Indonesia to come to terms with the abuses of its authoritarian past while freeing the new government to turn its attention to pressing economic concerns. Marzuki, a longtime human rights campaigner, said the six-week-old government of President Abdurrahman Wahid faces intense public pressure to bring to account those responsible for the abuses that characterized the 32-year rule of former dictator Suharto.

7. Smear campaign against military exists: TNI 21/12/99 JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): With their backs to the wall over relentless allegations of human rights abuses, the Indonesian Military (TNI) lashed back at detractors saying there was a conscious effort to smear the military. "There are indications that a group of people donÆt like TNI. They want to gradually paralyze the military institution," Tyasno said. Without identifying who these groups were, Tyasno noted that such smear campaigns were conducted through the media with human rights the constant excuse.

8. Wiranto yet to receive summons for testimony 21/12/99 JAKARTA (Indonesian Observer) ù A lawyer acting for senior military officials accused of masterminding bloodshed and destruction in East Timor says the generals are yet to receive an official summons from the Commission of Inquiry for Human Rights Abuses (KPP HAM). Lawyer Ruhut Sitompul said a state court regulation stipulates that a person should receive a summons at least three days before they are due to testify. "But so far, neither Pak Wiranto nor the team of lawyers have received a letter of summons," he said.

9. Military want priests, nuns questioned 21/12/99 JAKARTA (Indonesian Observer) ù The Udayana Military Commander Major General Kiki Syahnakri has advised the lawyers of senior generals to meet with priests and nuns in East Timor if they want to get more information about the militaryÆs role in violence that occurred after the territory voted for independence in August. Syahnakri yesterday said the lawyers should talk with priests and nuns who were at the residence of Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo when an angry mob set the house ablaze. He said the religious figures will provide reliable information.

10. Operation Teddie 21/12/99 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) COMPERE: As the first full unit of Australian troops left East Timor yesterday, a formidable new force landed in the territory. Twenty-eight thousand teddy bears donated by Australians have infiltrated East Timor and will be deployed throughout the territory by the end of the week. Geoff Thompson reports on the logistical challenge faced by æoperation teddyÆ.


An Australian navy diver as part of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) searches for bones in the water Monday Dec. 20, 1999 in Maubara Lake, about 70 kilometers (about 44 miles) west of Dili, East Timor. INTERFET today found bones and decayed body parts from two mass burial sites that they fear might contain more than 100 victims massacred by anti-independence militia gangs and Indonesian troops. INTERFET have recovered the remains of about a dozen bodies that had been dumped in the lake.More were feared to be beneath the water. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)


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