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Killing of Maubara youths is still mysterious

MateBEAN - December 5, 1997 (Posted by Tapol)

Dili – The identity of the four young men of Mau-bara, Liquisa is still a mystery. Witnesses interviewed by local journalists still can not gave assurance whether the killer was Fretilin Resistance group or ABRI soldiers disguising themselves as Fretilin.

People found four dead bodies on December 3, 97, in Sare village, Mau-bara. They are Imersio (20), Fernando (33), Patrisio (24), and Berdito (21); all of them were members of local Catholic Youth organization (MUDIKA). Ap-parently murdered brutally, their legs and hands tied by ropes. By the look of their wounds, they must have been tortured badly before the murderers finished them.

The Indonesian Army claimed that the four young people were killed by Fretilin guerillas. Colonel Slamat Sidabutar, the 167th Military Resort Com-mander, released an official statement and said that the four people is being murdered somewhere between Maubara and Sare village while they accompanied unknown strangers. The strangers came to Maubara on November 28, 1997 and joined local Catholic youths working for the coming Mass to commemorate Saint Mary Day.

"The strangers asked some local youths to accompany them to Sare village and on the way to the village, they unsheathed machetes and fire arms and killed their guides brutally," reported the military authorities in detail.

Local journalists expressed their doubts. "We are still investigating this case," said a local journalist in Dili. "There are still unanswered questions regarding the military version. For instance, how can the military reported the killing in detail while there were no witnesses around."

"These last days, many civilians living in remote areas were killed brutally by unknown assassinators. And the military was always accusing Fretilin guerillas as the ones to be responsible," the journalist explained.

Another source also speculated the possibility of SGI, the special intelligence task force unit of the elite Red Beret commandos, on their effort to discredit Fretilin, as the one behind these killings.

Another version said that the killings were an intelligence operation by the military to counter photographs circulated in international human rights groups. The photograph shows ABRI personnel in combat fatigues tortured East Timorese. The most recent photographs distributed in Vancouver, showed military personnel torture an East Timor woman. By seeing the photographs, some people believe that the torture was happen in SGI station in Dili. MateBEAN's sources said that the Indonesian army purposely did the killings to give bad image to the Resistance. "The army wanted to show the world that anti-integration terrorists were behind the killings and by doing so, the military spread terror among East Timor civilians," said him.