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East Timor: Phil Goff Welcomes Recovery Of Weapon


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

7 November 2000

EAST TIMOR: PHIL GOFF WELCOMES RECOVERY OF WEAPON


Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today that the weapon stolen from Private Leonard Manning when he was murdered by a militia group in East Timor in July has been recovered by the Indonesian Army (TNI).

“It was found by the TNI in a cache of militia arms on the West Timor side of the border on 27 October, and the serial number has now been checked,” Mr Goff said.

"The weapon, a Minimi light machine gun, will be returned by the TNI to the New Zealand contingent in the United Nations peacekeeping force in a ceremony to be held tomorrow, 8 November.

"This is encouraging evidence that the Indonesians are making an effort to fulfil their promises to conduct a thorough investigation, with the UN, into Private Manning’s murder. The TNI recently captured a militia member alleged to have killed Private Manning but unfortunately he has since escaped. I hope that it is not long before he is re-captured and along with his associates put on trial for this terrible crime.

“New Zealand welcomes the increased TNI efforts to disarm and disband the militias in West Timor. The Indonesian authorities appear to be serious about confiscating militia weapons and clamping down on militia activity. We have reports that the militias are in growing disarray, although they still remain a problem with refugees in the camps.

"Meanwhile, the Indonesian Parliament on Monday passed legislation on human rights tribunals. This opens the way for those accused of gross human rights violations, such as those named as responsible for the abuses in East Timor last year, to be prosecuted under Indonesian law.

"We hope that these efforts and this determination continues past the upcoming UN Security Council mission to Indonesia," Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS


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