/** reg.easttimor: 3762.0 **/
** Topic: Eyewitness account of attack on Bishop Belo's compound **
** Written 6:00 PM Sep 15, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Eyewitness account of attack on Bishop Belo's compound
Australian Broadcasting Corporation AM News hour transcript Thursday, September 16, 1999 8:19 a.m.
Attack on Bishop Belo's compound
COMPERE: One of the most potent symbols to emerge from East Timor in the last two weeks is the attack on the formerly sacrosanct compound of East Timor's spiritual leader, Bishop Carlos Belo. The attack happened just days after the result of the ballot was announced.
One of the eyewitnesses to the attack was Francisco Calguarde, the man whose job it is to liaise between East Timor's religious leader, Bishop Belo, and its political leader, Xanana Gusmao. This morning Francisco Calguarde arrived in Australia, and he told Bronwyn Adcock what happened that day.
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: We were attacked by the militias and the Indonesian troops.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: It was the militias and troops?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: And troops! I saw with my eyes! And I saw two of their generals just in front of Bishop Belo's house when I came out. And one is Safray Sumsudi [phonetic], but they didn't see me, but he was the commander, I think he was the one who conducted the operation.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: What's his position in the Indonesian military?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: He's a Major-General, and he was the commander of Jakarta City or something like that. After they attack, they push all the people who come out to on the street and they asked everyone to hands up, and some of us, you know, kneel down. And they ask for our car key and everything. They say, 'well, are you surrendering?' We say, 'yes'. 'You love Indonesia?' Well everyone say, 'yes', because we have no choice.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: So they made everyone say, 'we love Indonesia'?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: Yes, because everyone wanted to save their life. But what I feel is really touching that time was, you know, everyone, all the children are crying and old ladies, you know, everyone is holding candles, some of them holding religious cross and then they cry - but silently, no words, not anything - only tears come out, that's all. And it's really touching.
And after five minutes the police come and they took Bishop Belo. They say, 'well let us save your life, and so it's better for you to come to the police office'. So only Bishop Belo goes and we are not allowed to go with Bishop Belo that time. So I was with all the refugees on the site, on the street. So all of us come out to on the street and after half an hour when Bishop Belo left they divide us, they separate the women on one side and all the men on one side.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: And what happened then?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: And what happened then, I saved my life. When I saw one of the Aitarak was crying, one of the militias was crying, hugging his sister because his sister was also inside of the compound. And I ask him, I say, 'why do you cry?' He say, 'well this is my sister.' I say, 'so if you know this is your sister, why do you attack?' He say, 'well I was pushed in by the military, otherwise I would be killed by them.'
So I asked that man to help me, I say, 'well in this case you better take me out so maybe we can help these people'. And I was lucky there was one of the militias there and I borrow his jacket, it's a Merah Putih, you know, Merah Putih jacket, and I wear that Merah jacket and I left.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: I understand you were also present at a meeting a couple of days before the attack, between Bishop Belo and General Wiranto. Can you tell me what happened at that meeting?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: What he said is we report to him what happened after the announcement. So Bishop Belo reports to him that there was fifteen houses burning and shooting all the night. At that time we didn't know how many were killed. So after he listens to Bishop Belo's report and in front of the [inaudible], the militia commandant and also commandant of Korin [phonetic] and commandant of police, he says, 'well, I want you to stop all the fire, I want you to stop all the burning.' But what happened is just a few hours later they attacked Bishop Belo's office, [inaudible], Dili.
BRONWYN ADCOCK: So General Wiranto said to Bishop Belo that they would stop all the burning and any killing that had happened?
FRANCISCO CALGUARDE: Yes, he promised.
COMPERE: Francisco Calguarde.
** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **