A human rights organization said today it has documented atrocities in East Timor that implicate the Indonesian military and militias in at least seven instances of mass killings and dozens of individual slayings.
"Killing, plundering, burning, terror, intimidation and kidnapping [have] been carried out by the Indonesian armed forces along with the pro-Jakarta militia" in the days since East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence on Aug. 30, concludes the report by the Foundation for Law, Human Rights and Justice, based in Dili, the East Timor capital.
The organization interviewed many refugees secretly because of fears of retribution from militiamen in the refugee camps. Most of the atrocities cited by the group have not been verified, because after the shooting erupted in Dili, journalists were confined to the U.N. compound and then evacuated.
According to the report, witnesses identified Indonesian military members, in addition to the militias, as having participated in the atrocities. Indonesia has denied that any mass killings occurred and has sent more troops to East Timor to impose martial law and end the turmoil.
[U.N. human rights commissioner Mary Robinson said Sunday that she wanted an international war crimes tribunal set up to investigate human rights violations in East Timor. She said she would also probe the extent of military and police involvement in such violations.]
The Indonesian human rights group's report includes some incidents that have been verified by the media and other sources and others not previously known. Among them:
* Several hours before results of the independence referendum were announced on Sept. 4, 45 people were killed in Maliana, in western East Timor. They included 21 drivers and local employees of the U.N. observers' operation.
* Ten people in Bidau Macaur Atas, a neighborhood in Dili, were hacked to death Sept. 4 by militiamen and Indonesian soldiers, according to the human rights report. Some were buried by relatives, but "others were put into bags and thrown away on the side of the road. Others were thrown into the ocean."
* On the same day, militia members killed 50 people in Bedois, in eastern Dili. The next day, the report said, eight people who went to the Dili harbor to try to leave by ferry were identified as pro-independence and shot dead by Aitarak militia members.
The group said it also has documented the attack on the Dili Roman Catholic diocese that killed at least 25 people, including a baby; the killing on Sept. 5 of 15 local employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Dili; and an attack by the army and militia on a Catholic church compound in the Dili neighborhood of Balide, where unknown numbers were slain.
The human rights group, which is working in western and East Timor, provided reliable reports in Dili before chaos engulfed the city last week. Its offices there were ransacked, and many of its files were destroyed.
Much of the violence has been carried out by pro-Indonesian militias, but there also have been frequent reports of shooting and looting by the military. The Indonesian armed forces chief, Gen. Wiranto, acknowledged today that the militias and military are "comrades in arms." He said his forces have not succeeded in ending the violence because, for his soldiers, "I can understand it is very hard to shoot their own people."
[On Sunday, U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst, quoting refugee sources, said that Indonesian army and militia forces attacked refugees in Dare, a Roman Catholic seminary town six miles from Dili. "The Indonesian army is advancing up the mountain, slaughtering refugees," he said. He accused the military of having a plan for a "genocidal attack on the people of East Timor."]
In Australia, aid worker Isa Bradridge told Channel 7 that his wife, Ina, had seen piles of dead bodies stacked in a room at a police station in Dili before the couple was evacuated. "It was chockablock full of dead bodies, right up to the roof," he was quoted as saying. "All she could see through the bars were arms hanging out, heads, old and new, blood dribbling out under the door." The report could not be verified.
Some human rights groups alleged that some East Timorese were forced by the militias to become refugees. Accounts slowly emerging from the refugee camps in western Timor appeared to confirm that claim.
"We were asked by the local government and the Aitarak [militia] to leave East Timor," said a 29-year-old Dili resident of the Noelbaki Refugee Camp near Kupang. "I didn't want to go. . . . I would like to go back to Dili."
Reporters have been barred from the camps in western Timor, though several Indonesian journalists accompanied Social Affairs Minister Yustika S. Baharsjah on a quick tour of three camps today.
Special correspondent Ningrum Widyastuty contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Refugees from East Timor wait for water in a camp near Kupang, a town in western Timor. The camps in western Timor now hold 93,500 refugees who poured in after violence led by pro-Indonesian militia engulfed East Timor.