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Rebels blamed for deaths of four Timorese youths

Reuters - December 4, 1997

Jakarta – The bodies of four youths have been found in the troubled territory of East Timor and Indonesia's military has blamed their killings on rebels opposing Jakarta's rule, the official Antara news agency reported on Thursday.

East Timor army chief Colonel Slamat Sidabutar said the killing of four members of the Catholic youth group Mudika was a "terrorist" action.

Sidabutar told reporters in Dili, the territory's capital, that the bodies of the four – identified only as Imersio, Ferando, Fatrecia and Berdito – were found near Sare village in the Liquisa regency on Wednesday morning.

"It appears the four youths before they met the hour of their death were treated sadistically because of the condition of their corpses. They were found tied and their bodies bore the marks of torture," Sidabutar was quoted as saying.

"They (the rebels) are trying to intimidate and scare the people in that village and inhumanely without care they have exterminated the lives of four innocent youths," he said.

Last week Indonesia's military blamed rebels for kidnapping and killing a soldier in the neighbouring Ermera district.

Indonesia still faces a small band of poorly armed guerrillas fighting for East Timorese independence as well as an underground clandestine movement in the urban areas of the territory, a former Portugeuese colony.

The United Nations still does not recognise Indonesia's 1976 annexation of East Timor following its invasion the previous year and considers Lisbon as the administering power.

[Poster's comment: It seems the Indonesian military will now blame its own torture killings on the resistance. The description of the corpses sounds like how victims of the military and police torture are treated.]