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Troops 'killed 4 protesters'

South China Morning Post - April 11, 1997

Agencies in Dili – Independence leader Jose Ramos Horta said he had evidence troops killed four students who clashed with police in the East Timor capital of Dili last month as they tried to get a petition to a UN special envoy.

The Nobel Peace laureate said two of the four were killed after they later went to Jakarta and broke into the Austrian Embassy in a second attempt to see the envoy, Jamsheed Marker.

He said the two were among 33 East Timorese youths detained for several days after the break-in. They were murdered soon after their release a week ago, he said.

"I have with me photographic evidence of the Indonesian Army's brutality," he said in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Pax Christi non-governmental organisation to the UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva.

"This happened under the nose of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General," said Mr Horta, who left Geneva on Tuesday.

Of the clash at a Dili hotel on March 23, he said: "We now have evidence that [two] students were killed [there] and at least 20 seriously injured." He said he had received a list of 19 people still missing.

Military spokesman Colonel Sutan Iskandar denied the allegations, saying none of the students had been hurt.

Mr Horta said he was confident the 53-member forum would adopt a European Union resolution criticising abuses in the former Portuguese colony annexed in 1976.

Indonesian soldiers were searching for East Timorese guerillas who killed a senior government official, an aide and four security guards in an ambush, military officials said yesterday.

A further five people were wounded in the attack and in another ambush on Monday at a village near Viqueque, 120 kilometres south of Dili.

The military said the attackers belonged to the Fretilin guerilla movement, which seeks independence for East Timor.