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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 06:52 GMT
Indonesian army 'shot reporters'
Map of East Timor
The Indonesian military opened fire on five Western journalists covering the invasion of East Timor in 1975, a witness has told an Australian inquiry.

The East Timorese witness, who was with the invading Indonesian troops, said a top military commander opened fire.

A Sydney coroner's court is investigating the death of one of the journalists, Brian Peters.

Indonesia has always said the five journalists were killed in crossfire as troops advanced into East Timor.

The five journalists were killed in the town of Balibo on 16 October 1975 as Indonesia moved to annexe the former Portuguese colony.

Special forces

The family of Mr Peters insisted he was murdered and a coroner's inquest has been called to examine the circumstances surrounding his death.

The East Timorese eyewitness said he had trained with Indonesian troops and saw a special forces commander open fire on the journalists.

Other troops then began to fire as well, he said.

His name has not been released in order to protect his identity.

Indonesia ruled East Timor until a referendum in 1999 in favour of independence.

Militias loyal to Jakarta, apparently assisted by the military, embarked on a campaign of violence and intimidation that left more than 1,000 people dead and was only stopped by the arrival of Australian-led peacekeepers.

East Timor became the first new nation of the century in May 2002.


SEE ALSO
East Timor clash leaves man dead
17 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
E Timor ex-PM accused on unrest
17 Oct 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Rebel leader escapes E Timor jail
30 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: East Timor
17 Oct 06 |  Country profiles



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