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A summary of investigation and monitoring of human right abuses

Hugh Ekeberg - September 31, 1997

[The original source of this posting (other that the individual's e-mail address and period that the report covers) was not specified - JB]

1. On 28 November 1996 members of the community reported that a military element (Kostrad), a certain First Lieutenant Novie Ardi held a meeting with his colleagues to plot the assassination of the bishop, Monseigneur Carlos F Ximenes Belo, SDB and David Diaz Ximenes.

2. In the village of Samalari, subdistrict of Baguia, Baucau, on 8 November 1996 troops from the Kostrad and the Sandi Rajawali units gathered a number of youths they had recruited with the promise of money, to monitor (intelligence operation) the nightly activities of the people of Samalari/Baguia. The youth were given the authority to take action against anyone leaving their houses at night and, if needed, arrest them under the accusation of political involvement.

3. On 7 November 1996 in Baucau (Kota Baru) 2 young men, Evaristo Ximenes and Aniceto Ximenes were arrested by elements of the Kostrad unit. They were accused of involvement in the assassination of Sarge ant Major Juliao Fraga. Both youths were arrested in their rice fields in the village of Bui Bau at night. They are presently being held at police headquarters in Baucau.

Furthermore, on 9 November 1996 also in the village of Bui Bau, close to Baucau, two men Armindo do Rosario and Manuel were arrested. From information received the two men and the two youths are still being held in the police headquarters in Baucau and have been undergoing heavy torture. Their mental and physical conditions are causing grave concern.

4. The inhabitants of the subdistrict city of Quelicai (Baucau) are under intensive surveillance. In the past two weeks Kostrad has added an extra platoon to increase surveillance. The inhabitants' every movements are being monitored to the point that they do not feel free to move, they are scared and feel oppressed. On 17 November 1996 the Baucau police called in Quintino Emanuel de Cristo, a public servant from the Office of Information in Quelicai, on suspicion of involvement in the assassination of Sargeant Major Juliao Fraga. Quintino had been a member of the Rajawali intelligence unit but was dismissed and his radio communication equipment confiscated in June 1996 because his loyalty was put in doubt. Quintino has been held at the Military Police detachment (DENPOM) where he is undergoing intensive interrogation [by the militaries who want him] to confess to either being an eyewitness or the perpetrator of the assassination. He has been tortured and when his family visited him he had wounds and swelling on most of his body. Quintino has since been released on the condition that he reports daily to police HQ. According to information received and a power of attorney he has signed, Quintino is being represented by Legal Aid.

5. Reports from Viqueque say that 2 [sic] young people were arrested in Viqueque on 6 November 1996 at 15.00 hours by the Rajawali commando troops. One has been identified as Agustino Ximenes of RT 01 RW 01 Letemumo village. Four others have not yet been identified. The five youths were workers for a private company project in Sabukara Laran, Becora, East Dili and were engaged in selling books, including novels. Febri worked for another boss in a different place.

The incident started with the borrowing of a novel owned by the victim. On 6 November 1996 at approximately 6.30, Febri went past the victim's place of sale and found the victim arranging his books. Febri was interested in one of the novels for sale and wanted to purchase it but did not have the money. As Febri was well known to the victim he was allowed to borrow the book provided he returned it by 12.00. By 17.30 Febri had not returned the book and the victim went to his place with the intention of collecting it but he only found Febri's boss. As the book had been borrowed for such a long time in the end [the boss] paid Rp 3,000 - the price of the book - to the victim.

The following morning, 7 November 1996 at approximately 6.30, it is not known whether under instructions from his boss or because his boss had become involved, Febri went to victim's place. Approaching him from behind he swung his machete hitting the man on his left arm. When he saw what he had done Febri run to police to give himself up. The victim was immediately taken to the hospital. At present he is back at home although he has not fully recovered. This incident caused a strong reaction from local vendors and from local youths including students from Untim (East Timor University) but the reaction did not spread further than the area where the incident occurred.

6. Following a demonstration in front of the Bishop Dioceses Office in Dili on 25 November 1996 on the occasion of the Bishop's press release with regard to the "Der Spiegel" interview, a number of youths were arrested, among them:

1. Anibal Ximenes 20, RT12 RW VII Quintal-Boot, Santa Cruz, opposite the Department of Information office. According to a report by his parents to the Bishop's Commission for Peace and Justice in Dili, the youth's arrest was connected to the demonstration which took place in front of the Dili Dioceses on the occasion of the Bishop's press release. At the time of this report the family is not aware of the youth's whereabouts. An unsubstantiated report has him held in Manatuto although the family has not yet checked the veracity of the information. The boy's parents are Carlos Ximenes and Angelina Matias Ximenes.

2. Joao Rangel Pires, born in Manatuto 17 September 1972, known as Ajao, living in Manatuto at Maa-Ma RT 3, RW II Aitias. The youth was arrested on 25/11/96 by the police and the SGI (Intel) He was taken away without a warrant from the appropriate authorities. The arrest was connected with the demonstration in front of the Dili Dioceses on the occasion of the Bishop's press release. Since receiving this report from the family it is still not known whether he is being held in the police HQ in Manatuto as unconfirmed reports would have him held in the Becora jail.

3. Panraleo do Rosario Pires was arrested in Becora in front of the workshop on the night of Monday 25/11/96 at 21.40 in the house of his sister Mrs do Rosario. The youth has since been released on the condition that he reports daily to police HQ.

7. On 27/11/96 at approximately 10.00 am Rajawali troops chased, shot, arrested and interrogated a man from Quilicai in the Quilicai Kota market. The man is Mario Lucio da Costa, 20, address: Bati-Casu, in the village of Laisorulai Leten RT 02 RK I. Parents: Mateus da Costa (deceased) and Celestina Cabral.

The incident started with the victim distributing photocopies of the Bishop's press release of 25/11/96 to the people of Quelicai on 27/11/96 in the local market. A Rajawali soldier who was aware of the man's activities arrived at his house while Mario was reading the press release. The soldier approached the man while saying insulting words about the bishop. "CARLOS [the bishop] is a liar. He is only aggravating the problem". Mario took exception to the bishop's being insulted and an altercation ensued. The soldier lost his temper too and closed his hands around Mario's neck while threatening him with his gun. Mario managed to escape but the Rajawali soldier run after him while shooting his gun 4 times. These shots were followed by 6 more shots from an FNC rifle. The man was hit and suffered serious injures to his upper arm.

As his wounds prevented him from running Mario was caught and taken to the Rajawali post approximately 0.5 km from the Quelicai Kota market. On the way to the post he was repeatedly beaten until he was black and blue and some of his teeth were broken. This incident was witnessed by several people. The Rajawali soldiers told the people that he had been hurt in a fall. There were 5 Rajawali soldiers involved in the chasing, shooting, capture and torture of the man. The names of the perpetrators are not yet known, however steps are being taken towards obtaining a positive identification.

At the time of receiving this report neither the victim's family nor the ICRC have been permitted to visit. Since the incident the Kodim 1628 unit in Baucau has increased the number of soldiers in Quelicai.

8. On 15/11/96 at approximately 15.00 hours Rajawali troops arrested Rodolfo da Costa Sarmento from the village of Ililai-Laivai while he was working in his field in Laivai. The young man originates from Ilia-Laivai in the subdistrict of Lautem, district of Los Palos. After the arrest the young man was taken to the sub district of Laga - Baucau, where he was interrogated and heavily tortured. He was hung from a tree by his right foot then the rope was cut causing him to fall to the ground. He was then buried alive and taken out again. The young man's condition is bad and to the present time it is reported that he is still being held at the Flamboyan in Baucau - the HQ of the Rajawali - and that his case has not as yet been legally processed.

9. In connection with the demonstrations which took place in Baucau in the past months, information has been received that young people who have been held for an average of one to two years have been secretly moved to the island of Alor without the families' knowledge. They are:

1. Mateus Lopes Pinto, 29, Catholic, ex-politics students at Untim, from the village of Luto-Guia, Macadiki RT 02/RW X, district of Viqueque.

2. Celestino Viegas, 38, Catholic, farmer, from Luto-Guia, village of Macadiki RT 02/RW X, district of Viqueque.

10. on 26/11/96 around Liquica a woman was shot dead. Her name was Fernanda da Silva, 52, married. Her husband's name is Fernando Soares, 54, farmer, originating from the village of Asmanu RT 01, village of Hatu-Rae-Hei, district of Liquica. She left three adopted children aged 18, 15 and 3.

Based on the report of three eyewitnesses on 24/11/96 three ABRI elements from the local BTT post (Linud 700 battalion) in civilian clothes, one armed and two unarmed (name and identity of perpetrators not yet known) were chasing four girls who were taking flowers to a grave close to the victim's house. As they lost track of the girls the three ABRI soldiers switched direction and went to Fernanda (the victim)'s house. Without saying a word they caught a chicken belonging to her and just threw Rp 500 to the three year old woman's son. The woman did not protest because this was the first time it had happened. A few days later the ABRI soldiers returned demanding eggs and untying the rooster belonging to the woman's husband. The woman chased them, screaming "please do not take the rooster, I have nothing, the rooster is for sale". Without a word, but with angry expressions, the three handed back the rooster and returned to their post. This sort of behavior is not uncommon among ABRI elements posted in the hills and villages far from the cities where they take what they want by force.

On the 26/11/96, Fernanda and her husband attended a 'tara bandu' ceremony in Kilohei. Fernanda and other women were in the kitchen preparing lunch. After lunch they (the men and a number of ABRI elements) started gambling. The players were divided in two groups. The Head of the military post (DAN POS) and one of his subordinates were among the players while the others just watched, cradling their rifles. After several rounds a soldier changed his viewing position and sat down with his weapon pointed at Fernanda who was sitting in the kitchen talking with other women. Suddenly there was a shot and those playing cards were startled. A woman shouted from the kitchen "Fernanda has been shot dead". The DAN POS took the rifle away from his subordinate and took him back to the post. Fernanda's body was kept for the night at the place of the shooting and the following day was taken back to her house in the village of Hatu Rae Hei for burying (28/11/96). The Liquica Military Commando (KODIM) donated 200 kg of rice and 6 dozen packs of instant noodles to the family for the funeral. At the time of receipt of this report no action had been taken against the perpetrator. For the time being the Liquica KODIM has apologized to the family of the victim and has said that the shooting was accidental.

On 24 November 1996, during the day, three ABRI elements, members of the local BTT Post (LINUD 700 battalion) in civilian clothes and all armed (names and identities not yet known) arrived at the victim's house. Without a word they untied a rooster belonging to the victim and left. The woman chased them screaming "please do not take my rooster, I am old, I have nothing, the chicken is to be sold". The three ABRI elements, without a word, returned the chicken and went back to their post, looking angry and disappointed. The witness said that the soldiers' behavior towards villagers was not unusual. ABRI soldiers often took things by force and the people just had to accept it. A man did get shot on one occasion because he refused to give up his rooster.

On 26/11/96 at approximately 13.00 hours, the same three ABRI elements (all in civilian clothes and armed) arrived at the victim's house. This time the three just entered the house and sat down in the parlour. As it is customary, the woman welcomed her guests and offered them coffee, cakes and bananas then she retired to the kitchen leaving her guests to sit by themselves.

While the three ABRI elements were sitting enjoying their snack, the witness Antonio Da Silva arrived and immediately entered the house where he saw the three armed guests. The witness was invited to partake of the food but he refused. The witness saw one of the three soldiers holding his rifle and his fingers twitched as if he was about to pull the trigger. The rifle was pointed towards the kitchen where the victim was at the time. Suspecting something the witness went to sit outside the house.

Still according to the same witness, the victim still had a chance the clear up the ABRI guests' glasses and plates then she returned into the kitchen to chat with the wife of the local village head. At that time the witness heard a shot (just one) but he did not think the shot had hit the woman. A short time after the shot was heard the youngest adopted child of the woman shouted "auntie Nanda is dead". The witness hurried up inside and saw the woman. She was already dead, a bullet had entered her right armpit and come out under the right one.

One of the three ABRI rushed off to report to his post and shortly after the DAN POS (identity not yet known) arrived to the scene of the shooting. The witness who was still at the place of the shooting told the DAN POS that the woman had been shot by one of his three subordinates who were being entertained as guests at the time. He demanded that the DAN POS and his three subordinates take responsibility for the woman's death. Shortly after the witness went to report the incident to the local parish priest. As he left, the witness is not in a position to report about developments in the case of the shooting of Fernanda Da Silva in the village of Asumanan, Liquica.

Up to date only the testimony of Antonio Da Silva has been heard. Other witnesses have not yet been heard. The provisional conclusion is that the motive for the shooting it was a case of personal anger by one of the ABRI elements of the PTT POS because the woman had not allowed him to taker her rooster. Further enquiries are required to investigate the factors, motives that led to the shooting and the identity of the perpetrators.

11. The shooting by the militaries of a civilian, Tomas Sarmento, 35, from Secorai, Betano village, Same, Manufahi district.

This incident took place on 25 September 1996 when two brothers were searching for their horses who had broken loose. They believed the horses had run off to the grass fields towards Bermeit. The two left at 13.00 hours and arrived at their destination at approximately 16.00 hours but the horses were not there so they (Tomas Sarmento and Armindo Nunes) took different routes back while still looking for the horses and agreed to meet in Barolau. Armindo Nunes arrived in Barolau first and waited for over one hour then he heard three shots followed by another one.

In this incident, the security forces confessed to the shooting but said that it had been unintentional as the shooter took the wrong aim. Having given that as a reason, the BADIK/RAJAWALI unit produced a statement to be signed by the family, the village head, the three leaders of the village, the three leaders of the district and the BADIK/RAJAWALI Commander stating that the family would not make any claims against those responsible for the shooting.