UN orders Indonesia to disband militias

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The Independent Online

A mission from the United Nations Security Council demanded yesterday that Indonesia control pro-Jakarta militias in West Timor, despite claims by government officials that they had already done so.

A mission from the United Nations Security Council demanded yesterday that Indonesia control pro-Jakarta militias in West Timor, despite claims by government officials that they had already done so.

"Intimidation must stop," said the mission's leader, Namibia's ambassador to the UN, Martin Andjaba, after laying flowers at a site in the West Timorese town of Atambua where three UN foreign aid workers were beaten to death by militia in September.

The killings led to the evacuation of all humanitarian officials from the territory and the Security Council called on Indonesia to disarm and disband the militia gangs.

Indonesian authorities have been conducting a sweep for illegal weapons for two months. Officials claim the militia no longer pose a danger. General Kiki Syahnakri, the deputy chief of the Indonesian army who accompanied the UN mission, said 90 per cent of arms used by the gangs had been collected, and urged aid agencies to return to West Timor.

But an official with a UN refugee agency, Francois Fouinat, said it could not yetdetermine whether aid workers were able to return safely.

The militias killed thousands in East Timor before and after a referendum last year in which voters chose overwhelmingly to end Indonesia's 25-year occupation of their territory. ( AP)

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