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Reconciliation movement under pressure in Lautem

Tapol - December 8, 1997 (Based on a report posted in Bahasa Indonesia by Matabean)

The Movement for Reconciliation and Unity of the people of East Timor is being obstructed by the administration in the region of Lautem. The initiative to set up this movement was taken by Manuel Carrascalao, brother of the former governor, Mario, and Maria Quintao; both are former members of the local assembly.

The district chief of Lautem, Edmundo de Conceicao E Silva, together with other pro-intergation individuals have issued a statement attacking the movement. The district chief and local military commander have also called on pro-government youth groups to oppose the movement.

'This organisation which questions the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia has now spread to all parts of the territory,' a local journalist told Matabean.

The initiative to set the organisation up followed a conflict between Manuel Carrascalao and the present governor, Abilio Soares who had the support of the armed forces in the recent election of governor. Manuel then declared his opposition to East Timor's integration by forming a Group-of-7 composed of people who formerly supported integration. This group went ahead to set up the Movement for Reconciliation and Unity which has met with widespread support, particularly among the youth.

Manuel has expressed dissatisfaction with Indonesia because of the numerous human rights violations that have occurred since 1976. His dissatisfaction intensified when people from his circle who were becoming increasingly critical of Indonesia were removed from their positions in the administration.