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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Timor militia leader arrested
Eurico Guterres (centre), flanked by aides
Mr Guterres (centre): Blamed for much militia violence
The former leader of one of the most notorious militia gangs blamed for last year's violence in East Timor has been arrested.

He's a well-known suspect of crimes against humanity

Sergio Vieira de Mello, UN's East Timor administrator
Police said Eurico Guterres had been detained on charges that he had ordered his followers to hide their weapons rather than turn them in.

Police chief General Suroyo Bimantoro also accused Mr Guterres of ordering his men to take back guns they had just surrendered to police during a recent handover ceremony.

Mr Guterres, the former head of the much feared Aitarak militia, warned on Monday that any attempt to arrest him would be resisted by his supporters.

Eurico Guterres at police station in West Timor
Mr Guterres says his group has handed in over 100 weapons
His detention at a Jakarta hotel comes two days after he was named as a suspect for an attack on the home of an East Timorese independence leader.

However it appeared his detention was unrelated to the raid, in which 12 people died.

Jakarta has come under intense international pressure to disarm the militias, particularly following the murder of three United Nations aid workers in Atambua on 6 September.

Police searched Mr Guterres' home in West Timor last week.


Eurico Guterres is held by many to be responsible for some of the worst violence surrounding last year's independence referendum in East Timor in which hundreds died.

Manuel Carrascalao
Mr Guterres is implicated in the raid on Manuel Carrascalao's home
Mr Guterres has already been implicated in the violence by the United Nations and an Indonesian inquiry.

The gunmen continued their terror campaign after the territory voted to split from Jakarta in August 1999, later fleeing to West Timor where they now operate from refugee camps on the border.

The UN's chief administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, recently described Mr Guterres as a "thug" and a "well-known suspect of crimes against humanity".

The UN administrator added that Mr Guterres "should be behind bars instead of being invited to attend meetings with high-level Indonesian officials".


On Tuesday Mr Guterres was named as one of four people wanted in connection with the April 1999 raid on the house of independence leader Manuel Carascalao.

Witnesses described how militiamen, led by Mr Guterres, stormed the home of Mr Carrascalao, killing his son and many others.

More than 100 people, many displaced villagers who had fled earlier violence, were sheltering in the house at the time of the attack.

The attack was filmed by a BBC television crew which said Indonesian army serial numbers could be clearly seen on the militia's weapons.

They said Indonesian security forces made no attempt to stop the gunmen.

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See also:

25 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia arms crackdown 'pathetic'
01 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Timor inquiry: The list of suspects
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor marks year of freedom
13 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto - survivor with iron will
18 Apr 99 | Asia-Pacific
Death toll rises in East Timor
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