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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Six held in UN murder probe
militiamen on a lorry
The UN has called for the disbanding of the militias
The Indonesian authorities say they are holding six suspects in connection with the murder of three United Nations aid workers in West Timor earlier this month.

Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman told the BBC the suspects were all members of a militia gang which controls many of the refugee camps in the area.

Timor map
He denied reports the suspects included members of Indonesia's armed forces.

However, the attorney-general said police were planning to question a soldier over the murder of a militia leader two weeks ago.

The decapitated body of Olivio Moruk, 45, the head of the Laksaur pro-Indonesia militia, was found near the West Timorese border town of Atambua on 5 September.

The following day a group of militiamen attacked the UN office in the town, hacking to death the three aid workers

Indonesia's top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised the UN Security Council this week that the military would start forcibly disarming the militias if they did not surrender their weapons by next Tuesday.

Warning

Jakarta has come under increasing international pressure to clamp down on the militias who fled East Timor when the majority of the population voted to end 23 years of Indonesian rule last year.

UNHCR office
The UNHCR office in Atambua which was attacked by militiamen
United States Secretary of Defence William Cohen warned this week that Indonesia could lose international financial assistance if it did not immediately disband the armed gangs.

The gunmen were behind last year's killing and looting rampage in East Timor before being chased out by international troops.

They are now operating in Indonesian-ruled West Timor where they are trying to destabilise East Timor's transition to self-rule which is being overseen by the UN.

They are also blocking the return of some 120,000 East Timorese stuck in refugee camps on the Indonesian side of the border.

Foreign aid workers were evacuated following this month's attack on the UN staff and there are growing fears the refugees could run out of supplies unless the militias are reined in.

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See also:

20 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia rejects UN West Timor mission
18 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Cohen warning over West Timor militias
08 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
'20 dead' in Timor clashes
11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia pledges to disarm militias
06 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Danger of the Timor mission
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor marks year of freedom
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