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Four East Timor students kidnapped by the military in Surabaya

MateBEAN - December 23, 1997 (posted by ETISC)

Surabaya – Unknown security officers arrested four East Timor students in Surabaya on Sunday 21 December 1997. MateBEAN source from Surabaya stated that only one out of four students was identified yet. His name is Romualdo Amaral Soares (36), a newly graduated student of ITATS Surabaya, majoring in industrial management.

The other three are still unknown except that they are students from a private university in Surabaya, Dharma Cendika University. The source knew only two nicknames, Anino, and Aqua.

It was still unclear, whether the kidnappers were from the military or police. The reason of the kidnapping was still unknown. "I am certain only on what I saw. They were heavy-built people with crewcut hairstyle," said a witness. East Timor students in Surabaya had made efforts to know the whereabouts of their friends but still had no answer.

These last months, the military, especially intelligence units, have intensified their surveillance on East Timor students' activities in big cities of Java and Bali. It seems that they were on a witchhunt for certain East Timorese believed to have connection with Demak Bomb Explosion Incident.

Meanwhile in Dili, UNTIM students still do not know when academic activities begin. Meetings between the chairman of Loro Sae Foundation, J. Haribowo (also the vice-governor of East Timor) with UNTIM's lecturers still being conducted at a slow pace and it seems there is still no agreement reached yet.

University management stopped academic activities following the bloody 14 December Incident, where military and police SWAT attacked UNTIM students and damaged university buildings. Shortly afterwards, UNTIM lecturers went into a strike as a protest to the incident. The students also wanted to meet Duke Duarte from Portugal.