Militia leader tells of massacre 'grand plan'

A former Pro-Jakarta militia leader has claimed Indonesian military intelligence last February drew up a grand plan to massacre pro-independence East Timorese and cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

Tomas Goncalves, who headed the Peace Force and Defender of Integration militia, said he was present when the plan was unveiled in Dili by Lieutenant Colonel Yahjat Sudrajad, the intelligence chief of the army's Kopassus special forces.

Mr Goncalves says Colonel Sudrajad demanded independence leaders and their families be wiped out.

Mr Goncalves has told a Hong Kong newspaper he attended a second meeting in March, when East Timor's Jakarta-appointed governor, Abilio Soares, allegedly called for all priests and nuns to be killed.

He says as a Catholic, he could not kill priests and nuns and when he came under suspicion for his stance, he fled to Macau.

Reservists Australia's army reservists could serve in the multinational security force in East Timor.

Australian and foreign troops are starting to pour into Darwin, with 1,200 Australian troops now on standby in Darwin.

They have been joined by 250 British Gurkhas who flew in yesterday morning.

Another 400 New Zealanders arrive at the weekend.

The three nations are likely to be the core of the first contingent sent to East Timor, possibly this weekend.

The man who will command the force, Major General Peter Cosgrove, says Australia's army reservists - of which there are well over 20,000 - could also serve if they have the right skills and availability.

"International forces that are provided may well have an element of reservists in all of them and I know that our own reservists would serve us very well," he said.

The comments come a day after Indonesia cancelled its defence pact with Australia, citing Canberra's attitude and actions leading up to the United Nations decision to send the multinational force to East Timor.

The Federal Government played down the importance of the decision, with Prime Minister John Howard saying it was expected.

Malaysia Malaysia has done an about face and says it will participate in the Australian-led multinational force for East Timor, after earlier ruling out joining the force.

The Malaysian Foreign Minister says the Government will send a team of military officers to join the force and plans to deploy more troops for the next phase of peacekeeping operations under the United Nations.

He told the official Bernama news agency the sudden turn-about came after "having reviewed the latest developments in East Timor".

Meanwhile, Thailand has named Major General Songkitti Jaggabatra toserve as deputy commander of the multinational force.

He will serve as second-in-command under Major General Peter Cosgrove of Australia.

Off-limits The deputy commander of East Timor's pro-Indonesia militia, Eurico Guterres, has warned that the militia will put eight of the territory's 13 districts off limits to multinational troops.

He has been quoted by the Antara news agency as saying the militia will offer an agenda to the multinational force, dictating what it has to do.

He claimed the militias control eight districts in the western part of East Timor and that the United Nations can manage the remaining five in the east.

Mr Guterres has previously aired a plan to divide East Timor into two, saying that the pro-Indonesians will not leave their strongholds.

Food-drops Plans to air-drop emergency food supplies into East Timor were yesterday delayed further, with the plan now to make the drops today.

A Royal Australian Air Force Hercules is on standby in the Northern Territory to drop parcels with food rations and water to refugees forced out of Dili.

But the RAAF is still waiting for final clearance from Indonesia.

The United Nations says aid workers managed to get six tonnes of rice to refugees near the town of Dare yesterday and reported more deaths from disease and malnutrition.

The United Nations Mission in East Timor's spokesman, David Wimhurst, says there are about 50,000 refugees in that area alone in a serious state.

"The assessment of our humanitarian officers, in Dare specifically it might be more efficient to use road distribution to bring in more aid than by dropping it by air because of that particular terrain," he said.

More news can be found on ABC News Online's East Timor page.

1999 Australian Broadcasting Corporation