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Red Beret arrest Timorese, whereabouts unknown

MateBEAN - December 22, 1997

Manatuto – A Red Beret military unit, infamously known as Kopassus had arbitrarily arrested Elias Soares (18), on 8 December 1997, with no clear reasons at all. The primary school graduate from Vemassa Sub-district, Bacau, was on his way from Vemassa to Dili. Until MateBEAN posted the news today, there was still no clues of his whereabouts and destiny.

Eyewitnesses told MateBEAN, there is a small chanceElias will be back home again. "Let him come home safely, there is small hope for poor Elias to be alive. Just do not ask a man's destiny if the Red Beret was the one behind the arrest. The chance to disappear without a trace is bigger," said him sadly.

The people of East Timor know Kopassus as "assassinos" or Merciless Hit Men. If a relative was known to be in the hands of the Red Beret (commanded by the President's son in law Major General Prabowo), they'd rather choose to pray for the safety of his soul than for his body. If by luck he came home, he is more dead than alive, regarding the brutal tortures he had experienced. Most of the victims become insane, or in a state of heavy mental depression.

Meanwhile, there was no solution yet in East Timor University's academic activity stagnation. A meeting between the students with the chairman of Loro Sae Foundation, Haribowo, had not given any conclusion yet. "It is said that the management will announce their final decision, yesterday; but nothing happened yet," commented an UNTIM student.

As we have known before, the management temporarily stopped academic activity, following a strike by UNTIM lecturers who protested the brutality of Army and Police troops on the bloody 14 November 1997. Unofficial sources reported at least one death toll.