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Cablegate: East Nusa Tenggara: Shooting Incident at Ntt-Timor Leste

VZCZCXRO6298
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0068/01 3060959
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020959Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0098
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0039
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 0005
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0090
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0013
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0100
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0016
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0037
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0001
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0001

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000068

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, IRN/EAP, DRL/PHD, INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ID TT PREF
SUBJECT: EAST NUSA TENGGARA: SHOOTING INCIDENT AT NTT-TIMOR LESTE
BORDER

REF: SURABAYA 55

SURABAYA 00000068 001.2 OF 002


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

(This is a joint report from Consulate General Surabaya and US
Embassy Dili.)

1. (SBU) Summary: Embassy Dili and Consulate General Surabaya
contacted individuals on either side of the Indonesia-Timor
Leste border regarding the shooting of Timor-Leste citizen Lucas
Neno by Indonesian Armed forces (TNI). Neno was shot at
approximately 4:30 a.m. Timor-Leste local time on October 26.
Neno died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. So far as
is known, Neno was killed on Indonesian soil approximately 25
meters from the Timor Leste border in the Cova Lima District.
Indonesian press reports highlighted the urgency of reaching
agreement on the issuance of border crossing cards to avoid
similar incidents. End Summary.

The Shooting of Lucas Neno
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Embassy of Australia in Dili provided US Embassy
Dili with details surrounding the incident and the ongoing
investigation. Australian Military Liaison Officer Major Mark
Cole is the Leader of the Cova Lima Military Liaison Team and is
assisting the investigating team at the border. Major Cole
provided the following preliminary information to Embassy Dili
regarding the ongoing investigation.

3. (SBU) The TNI fired on Neno after suspecting he was crossing
the border illegally. The Embassy of Australia in Dili has been
advised that there are several abnormalities relating to the
shooting incident, such as the fact the crime scene was
disturbed after the body was moved and before any independent
source could establish the exact location of the shooting. The
body was brought to a mortuary in Atambua (East Nusa Tenggara),
which is also the Headquarters of the Indonesian Army's 742
Battalion. This happened before any independent agency could
confirm its location with reference to the border and before the
TNI Military Police arrived on the scene.

4. (SBU) Major Cole advised US Embassy Dili that the members of
the TNI detachment at the border crossing point nearest the
incident are "very somber and extremely keen to ensure that the
good relationship between the TNI and Timor Leste Border Patrol
Unit (BPU) is not strained over the incident." The Timor Leste
Border Patrol Unit (BPU) has "not indicated anger or displeasure
over the shooting", according to Major Cole. So far, there does
not appear to be any negative fallout from the incident or
escalating tensions between the border guard forces of the two
countries. Major Cole also reported that the TNI were very
reticent and nervous, not willing to give details of the
circumstances pending arrival of the TNI MPs. They were,
however, regretful of the incident and emphasized that they did
not want the incident to damage relations between TNI and Border
Patrol Unit (BPU) and by extension, Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

5. (SBU) Major Cole told US Embassy Dili that while Lucas Neno
once worked for the BPU as a cook, he has not done so for about
two years. Although it is likely that the victim was known to
at least some of the BPU members, there does not appear to be
any current personal connection between the victim and either
the TNI or the BPU.

Details of the Investigation
----------------------------------

--Victim was Lucas Neno, 45 years old, of Salele, Timor-Leste;

--Estimated time of shooting is 4:30 a.m. on 26 Oct 07;

--Witness (with victim at time of the shooting) is Francisco De
Arigo;

--Shooting allegedly took place approximately 25 meters inside
the Indonesian border (yet to be confirmed);


SURABAYA 00000068 002.2 OF 002


--Timor Leste National Police were informed of incident at 8:30
a.m. on 26 October 2007;

--The body is being held in Atambua

--The victim allegedly went across border to buy/smuggle fuel
across border;

--One round was discharged, striking the victim in the abdomen,
with an exit wound in his back;

--It remains unconfirmed if he died at the scene;

--The Timor Leste National Police and Border Patrol Unit suspect
TNI tampering with the crime scene/evidence because the body was
allegedly moved;

--The witness (De Arigo) claims that the TNI called for the
victim and him to stop prior to shooting. No warning shot was
fired. The witness fled when he heard shots being fired and saw
the victim fall to the ground.

Incident Adds Urgency to Issue of Border Crossing Card
--------------------------------------------- --------------
----------

6. (U) Consulate Surabaya learned from one contact in Atambua,
NTT that things are calm despite heightened tensions immediately
after the shooting. Indonesian press reports surrounding this
shooting incident focused on the need for regularized border
crossing cards for residents of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and
Timor Leste border area. Indonesia and Timor Leste governments
plan to roll out a border crossing card in January 2008. Press
reports quoted Timor Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Zacarias Dacosta, as approving of the manner in which the TNI
has handled the shooting incident. Dacosta encouraged speeding
up issuance of border crossing cards as a means of avoiding
similar incidents in the future. According to Indonesian
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hasan Wirajuda, Indonesia and East
Timor have reached agreement in principle on the border crossing
card.
MCCLELLAND

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