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Students take refuge after ninjas assults

Agence France Presse - October 10, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Some 400 East Timorese students studying in neighboring Indonesian West Timor have returned home after being terrorized by men dressed in black "ninja" suits, the Kompas daily reported Saturday.

It said the students packed up and fled back to East Timor in seven buses Friday from the Widya Mandira Catholic University in the provincial capital of Kupang. "Our families asked us to return to East Timor," Kompas quoted East Timor Students Association (Imaptim) chairman Joao Morere as saying.

Morere said four East Timorese students had been attacked by a group of men in ninja suits, and others had received death threats from unidentified men who came to their dormitories. He said one of his colleagues, Tino Atinus, who was attacked Thursday in front of the Laguna Hotel, was still in intensive care in Kupang general hospital. He was stabbed in the stomach and chest. Earlier on Wednesday a second student was beaten up in front of the Widya Mandira campus. "The series of assaults and terror have created great fear among us," Morere said.

"Ninja" (or Nanggala) was the name given in East Timor to gangs of thugs trained by the special forces to terrorize opponents of Indonesian rule. The army says they are resistance members trying to blacken the name of the armed forces.