East Timor Crisis: Peacekeepers to use `all means necessary' to restore order

THE EXPECTED spearhead of a multi-national force landing on East Timor this week, will begin one of the most perilous and unpredictable peace-keeping missions undertaken by the international community.

The 8,000 soldiers, mostly Australian, but with New Zealanders and Gurkhas, will enter a territory considerably larger and more hostile than Kosovo. But they could face fierce resistance in the jungles and mountains, where Indonesia has failed to defeat guerrillas in 20 years of warfare.

Under a British-sponsored resolution, the mandate for a peace-keeping force was being negotiated last night at the UN Security Council in New York. That force would be authorised under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which means the soldiers could use "all necessary means" to enforce peace, in- cluding use of all firearms. The ill-fated Unprofor mission was sent to secure peace in Bosnia in 1994 with very limited attack and defence capabilities.

Several imponderables await the mission. The militia may not attempt to defend a territory it has already laid waste and they may flee across the border to sanctuary in West Timor. If they do make a stand, they may be re-armed and supplied by the Indonesian Army, the TNI.

Yesterday, Indonesian officials in Jakarta denied the TNI, accused of abetting the militia rampage, will represent a threat to the peace- keepers. The TNI is meant to remain behind to assist the multi-national force. "I can guarantee that no TNI personnel will make any conflict with the peace-keepers," a military spokesman said. How far the TNI can be trusted is open to question.

Bob Lowry, lecturer at the Australian Defence Studies Centre in Canberra, sees limited problems for the force. He said: "The most dangerous time is going to be getting out in the townships and villages and establishing initial control, basically the first week."

If there is no evidence of mines being laid or booby traps, "all you're really looking at is people with small arms and thugs running around with machetes and so on, and our troops will be more than able to cope with that".

Warnings were sounded in Jakarta. "If the UN sends the troops from Australia the emotions of people will rise and the conflict will start again," said Aisyah Amini, a leading figure in the ruling Golkah party. "It will be a conflict between the pro-integration people and the troops from Australia."

On Monday, a parliamentary commission on defence, which Mrs Amini chairs, urged the UN to exclude Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Portugal from the UN force in the former Portuguese colony.

Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore and the United States have pledged support at various levels.

Danger lurks along the 100-kilometre winding mountain border that separates East and West Timor. That could provide the militia with a near-impervious curtain, and hidden military staging areas in Indonesia from which they could launch offensive operations at will.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Advisor - (HR, L&D) - Rugby

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and well established busi...

Recruitment Genius: Product Owner - Business Analyst

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Product Owner/Business Analyst is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Quality Technician

£28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea