Deported American activist says military chief behind Timor killings

SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (AFP) - An American journalist and activist deported from Indonesia said Monday he was convinced armed forces chief General Wiranto was behind the militia killings in East Timor.

Allan Nairn was in Dili for about two weeks before Indonesian authorities detained him for violating visa regulations by entering the country as a tourist.

He said here Monday that during his detention at the military headquarters in East Timor, he saw pro-Jakarta Aitarak militiamen living and working out of there.

"While I was being held there and questioned there, you could see that the whole back-half of the base was full of uniformed Aitarak militia, with their black tee-shirts and red and white headbands," added the 43-year-old journalist, who is also an activist on East Timor affairs.

He said one of the officers who questioned him told him the militiamen "live here, they work out of here."

"You can see them going out on their motorbikes and their trucks, fully armed to do their attacks on Dili," said Nairn, adding it was the same situation in the police headquarters in Dili where he was also held.

"There you would see the uniformed Aitarak people wandering in and out of intelligence and operations room. So clearly at both places, the militia was operating out of the main army and police bases," he said.

Asked whether he was convinced Wiranto was behind the militia actions, Nairn said: "Yes, definitely.

"Organisationally in the Indonesian military, the only person that both the army and police report to is General Wiranto."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Sunday accused the Indonesian army of cooperating with East Timor militias in committing atrocities against the territory's people.

Nairn said he saw militiamen inside a plane in which he was flown from East Timor to West Timor last Wednesday, wearing black T-shirts and carrying pistols, knives and swords.

"I actually recognised by face some of them from the streets of Dili as being among the street-level militia leaders. But it turns out all these men were police intelligence and they were being rotated back .. after having fulfilled their assignments in Dili."

Nairn also said he saw a police intelligence document referring to a specific operation which had moved out a total of 323,564 people from East Timor.