UN peace-keeper shot dead in Timor

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The Independent Online

The Indonesian government insisted yesterday that it cannot control pro-Jakarta militiamen in East Timor, hours after they killed another United Nations peace-keeper in a gun battle close to the border between the two countries.

The Indonesian government insisted yesterday that it cannot control pro-Jakarta militiamen in East Timor, hours after they killed another United Nations peace-keeper in a gun battle close to the border between the two countries.

Private Devi Ram Jaishi, a 25-year-old soldier of the Nepalese army, died on Thursday night after being shot in the chest while on patrol near the south-western town of Suai, close to the border between Indonesian West and independent East Timor. Three other Nepalese soldiers and a Timorese civilian were also injured in the incident, the latest in a rash of attacks by the increasingly active pro-Indonesian forces.

Sulaiman Abdulmanan, a spokesman for the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said: "We have been quite open about this problem. We cannot give 100 per cent control. Once the [militiamen] cross the border they are not our responsibility."

But members of the UN administration in East Timor are convinced that Indonesia is, at the very least, passively tolerating the attacks on the 8,000-strong peace-keeping force. Last month, in another incident close to the border, an Australian soldier was also shot dead by armed men who, according to UN sources in Dili, were disguised members of Kopassus, the Indonesian special forces.

It is almost a year since East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a UN-supervised referendum. Some 200,000 people were deported to West Timor and it is from camps there that many of the militia operate. Indonesia has promised to deal with the problem by closing the camps and repatriating the refugees. The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Alwi Shihab, said yesterday. "By closing the camps, the source of all those problems - killing and tension could be abated."

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