Accessed 08 September 1999
Download this document. 
(Word 97)
Indonesia's Death Squads: Getting Away With Murder
Copyright © 1999 ETISC. All rights reserved.
ETISC  |  Page1  |   Page2  |  Page3  | Page4  |  Page5   |  Page6  |  Page7  |
Getting Away With Murder

A Chronology of Indonesian Military sponsored Paramilitary and Militia crimes in East Timor from November 1998 to May 1999
Page1: Indroduction, Excerpts from the chronolgy.
Page2: Background, Militia Gangs in East Timor.
Page3: Pro-integration groups, Chronology of TNI sponsored Paramilitary and Militia crimes.


According to a United Nations brokered agreement signed between Indonesia and Portugal on 5 May 1999, the UN is to conduct a consultation of the East Timor population on August 8 1999. (ETISC’s Occasional Paper Nº 1 ‘Indonesian Orchestrated Savagery in East Timor’ critically examines the various components of the agreement). The East Timorese are to decide if they want to accept or reject an offer of autonomy within Indonesia made by President B.J. Habibie. If they reject it, Indonesia will withdraw from the territory. The Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI – formerly ABRI) are covertly trying to undermine the process, arming militia squads of Timorese (from East and West Timor). Under the supervision of TNI personnel, Timorese are being trained, paid, equipped and encouraged to kill, torture and intimidate the East Timorese population into voting for autonomy. Supporters of independence are being subjected to extreme brutality and death. The numbers of victims of the violence so irresponsibly fostered by TNI has reached alarming levels, deeply disrupting normal life in East Timor, and adding to the already considerable suffering of the people of this troubled territory. Holding a Consultation of the will of the people under such conditions is impossible. The result would totally fail to reflect the true preference of the people, and could therefore not be considered legitimate. 

According to the 5 May agreement, the UN Secretary-General has until 13 June to decide if the conditions in the territory make a consultation possible. It is the view of the East Timor International Support Center (ETISC) that unless drastic measures are taken at once, and security in East Timor is assured by a force other than the Indonesian Armed Forces, the Consultation will not be possible. The first step which is immediately required is the effective disarming of the TNI created militias. 

The present document has been compiled by ETISC. It is published with the aim of impressing upon international public opinion, and in particular, on those responsible for influencing or determining policy regarding East Timor in various government and non-government organisations, the huge extent of the violence that has been inflicted by the TNI created militias in East Timor since their creation in the latter part of 1998.

Death squad on patrol
Indonesian death squad members. Photo: Charles Dharapak

liquicia.jpg (23853 bytes)
The scene of the massacre in the chuch and home of Father Rafael, in the town of Liquisa.

Excerpts from the chronology:

On 25 January Mahidi militia attacked Galitas village. They burnt the houses of the residents, then sadistically killed a pregnant woman. After shooting her dead, they cut up her corpse. With a knife, they cut open her abdomen and pulled out the foetus. Five other residents of the village were also killed including her father who was beheaded and her brother.
Charles Dharapak6.jpg (22739 bytes)
"Under the supervision of TNI personnel, Timorese are being trained, paid, equipped and encouraged to kill, torture and intimidate the East Timorese population into voting for autonomy." Photo: Charles Dharapak

On 6 April Besi Merah Putih militia, Indonesian armed forces and police from Liquiça surrounded the Liquiça church where 2000 people were seeking refuge from previous violence. The police shot tear gas into the church and gunshots into the air which gave a chance for the militia to enter the church grounds and shoot at the people in the church. The people sprayed by the tear gas ran outside of the church with their eyes closed then BMP began to massacre the people with arrows and spears. An eyewitness said "they shot and hacked at people as though they were killing animals. Even when people were raising their arms to surrender, they were still shot and hacked". 62 people were slaughtered. On 7 April 

An Indonesian army spokesman gave his version of the Liquiça massacre: "five separatists were killed after opening fire at soldiers".

On 17 April a pro-autonomy rally was held in Dili outside the Governor's office attended by a number of militia groups and the military and military commander, police representatives, the Governor and pro-autonomy civilians. Eurico Guterres urged his army trained militia men to "conduct a cleansing of all those who have betrayed integration. Capture and kill them, if you need to". Fearing attacks by the militia, Manuel Carrascalao, a pro-independence leader who was housing 143 refugees, asked the military commander for help to guard his home. Colonel Suratman flatly refused. "The military must remain neutral," he said. 

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 07/09/99
©S D Stein
East Timor Index Page
Web Genocide Documentation Centre Index Page
Holocaust Index Page

Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science