Seven suspected Indonesian spies have been detected in East Timor, prompting warnings by United Nations officials that saboteurs could try to wreck the territory’s first democratic elections.
The discovery is revealed in a leaked internal UN security report that also warns of a campaign of subversion planned by a fringe East Timorese political party that has been linked to Indonesian intelligence agencies.
The security report, dated March 3-10 and distributed to senior UN officials, says the seven Indonesians posed as shipwrecked fisherman who landed on Atauro island, off Dili, shortly before a voter registration trial began there on February26.
Registration began across the rest of the territory yesterday, with the aim of compiling a full voter list for elections for a national assembly, tentatively scheduled for August 30 - the second anniversary of the territory’s vote for independence.
The security report says the seven Indonesians “claimed they were fishermen but further investigation revealed that they had been observed entering the Indonesian mission near the Pertamina oil [depot] in Dili at the end of February”.
“It is suspected that they had travelled to Atauro to monitor and report on the the pilot civil registration project.”
The UN administration in East Timor buys bulk fuel from Indonesia’s state-owned Pertamina oil company, whose Dili depot also houses Indonesia’s diplomatic mission.
Tankers from Indonesia arrive about once a week to offload at the depot’s jetty. No UN security is in place there, and tanker crew or passengers are free to come ashore unhindered.
An underlined sub-heading of the UN report,
entitled Action Required, warns:
“The Atauro-Dili sea lane presents an obvious route to Dili for saboteurs and, in view of increased threats to public security, merits increased attention from the security forces.”
The report makes no mention of what action, if any, was taken against the seven Indonesians, and Indonesian officials in Dili could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The UN report also expressed concern about a planned campaign of “subversion” by a renegade political party, the CPD-RDTL, the People’s Defence Committee of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
UN police last week accused the party of planning to assassinate the independence leader Mr Xanana Gusmao and other senior East Timorese.
The UN memo says CPD-RDTL supporters had clashed with members of the East Timorese pro-independence Fretilin party on Atauro on February 22, the same time as the seven Indonesians were seen there. Last week, Mr Gusmao warned of links between senior RDTL officials and shadowy Indonesian army intelligence agents.
“All available evidence points to an escalation of subversive activity by CPD- RDTL and they will most likely continue to cause problems for the administration during the upcoming civil registration process,” the memo warns.
The UN is also concerned about the links between CPD- RDTL and a fanatical quasi-religious sect comprising former Falintil pro-independence guerillas known as the Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family) .
The memo said a male corpse found in Liquica on February26 was believed to be the first victim of a Sacred Family “hit list” targeting members of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, which Mr Gusmao leads.
15 STL: Bishop Belo: Do not choose party that destroys Timor
News from ETimor
“I have met with Fretilin, UDT, and even with CPD-RDTL (Aitahan Matak, Fil Fernandes and Feliciano). I said to them that I would only support parties in Timor that work for peace, democracy human rights justice, social peace, tolerance. The church supports pluralism and democracy in East Timor." Bishop Belo
Mar 12 TP: Fretilin Declaration:
Do Not Commit Violence News from ETimor
"In the last few days, the symbols of Fretilin, especially the RDTL flag, have been used by certain groups to create trouble and to deceive the people into carrying out demonstrations, violence and other undesirable actions." Lu Olo (president) and Mari Alkatiri (vice-president) of Fretilin
9 STL: Fretilin Not Behind CPD-RDTL News from ETimor
"Their [CPD-RDTL] actions on Wednesday were criminal in nature. They are using the Fretilin flag without our agreement. And we have reminded them umpteen times to stop using Fretilin symbols, but to no avail,” Mari Alkatari, Fretilin Vice-President
7 CNRT/CNP: A Threat on the life of the President Press
Conference summary of events
"Commissioner Costa e Souza [of CivPol] ended his report by stating that he has no doubt that this was a planned action designed to disturb the meeting between President Xanana Gusmão and the students and that given the level of violence it was also designed to threaten the life of the President." National Council of Timorese Resistance/Congresso Nacional Presidency (CNRT/CNP)
Feb 12 OTL: Movimentos e partidos Pró autonomia: evolução desde o referendo Report
"No interior de Timor Leste, um grupo radical confronta-se, por vezes violentamente, com o CNRT e a Fretilin. Reclama-se da República Democrática de Timor Leste (RDTL), proclamada pela Fretilin em 1975, mas o seu dirigente e a sua prática ligam-no a Abílio Araújo, defensor da autonomia na Indonésia aquando da campanha do referendo." Observatório Timor Leste
12 ETO: Political Movements and Parties: pro-autonomy
"Inside East Timor, a radical Timorese group is opposing, sometimes violently, the CNRT and Fretilin. They are calling for a return of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL), proclaimed by Fretilin in 1975. However, there are links between the RDTL’s leader and activities and Abílio Araújo who, at the time of the referendum, advocated autonomy within Indonesia for East Timor." East Timor Observatory
12 Xanana: Symposium on “Reconciliation, Tolerance, Human Rights and Elections”
"the CPD-RDTL, made up of lunatics and incipient politicians that has already been disturbing the population in certain places. CPD-RDTL has demonstrated an ability to mobilize young people, many of whom were not a part of the clandestine organizations, to act violently in some places of the territory. In Dili, they have been promoting young people towards violence and towards the disrespect of law and order." Xanana Gusmão, President CNRT/NC
30 SMH: Community radio fights campaign of fear News
"Already one political party, a breakaway faction of Fretilin, has been involved in violent clashes in the district. RDTL, a Portuguese acronym for Democratic Republic of Timor Leste (East Timor), is accused of receiving cash from Indonesian sources to support the cause of integration, according to the East Timor independence leader, Mr Xanana Gusmao. RDTL's ability to organise in remote rural areas has taken many East Timorese and senior UN political officials by surprise. Mr Deligia said: "They have been very dynamic in the last two or three months. There have been a series of small incidents appearing on an almost daily basis." " Mark Dodd
15 IPS: Road to Nationhood neither Straight nor Short
"The fears of CNRT officials lie in what they say is a campaign, ahead of political season, of ''misinformation'' by pro-Indonesian groups like one called the Council for the Popular Defense of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste (CPD-RDTL). The group is said to be linked to former Indonesian armed forces chief Wiranto and military officials involved in the violence after the September 1999 vote." Johanna Son
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