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New organisation set up in East Timor

Extracts from TIRAS - December 8, 1997

A new organisation called Movement for Reconciliation and Unity of the East Timorese People has come into being in East Timor, led by Manual Carrascalao as the chair and Francisco de Carvelho as secretary. Carrascalao who served as a member of the regional assembly for three terms is the brother of former East Timor government, Mario Carrascalao. Francisco de Carvalho was former in the civil service, becoming the private secretary of Government Abilio Oosoorio Soares until he was sacked in 1996. The organisation has some thirty members, all of them well known political figures or former civil servants.

Manuel said the intention was to establish roots in society, among all sections of the people, in accordance with international law, under the UN. Fully aware that the aims of his organisation did not meet with the wishes of the government, Manuel said he was fully prepared to be arrested by the security forces at any time. 'We are not afraid,' he said, 'and are ready to accept whatever risks may be involved in setting up this new organisation.'

The governor shrugged off the movement, saying that they are an insignificant group of people, 'trying to grab people's attention. All they want to do is to disrupt development in East Timor,' he said.

Some circles in East Timor have accused the organisation of being involved in the recent unrest.

As for Major-General Syahrir, military commander of Udayana military command based in Bali, he regards the group as 'clandestine', a new anti-integration organisation. He said that the military authorities, along with the prosecutors' office and the police, were taking all the necessary measures to prevent the group from exerting any influence in society. 'If anyone knows anything about them, please report to us and they will be dealt with in accordance with the laws in force,' said Major-General Syahrir.