Security Assistance:

Shooting Incident in East Timor, Indonesia

NSIAD-92-132FS: Published: Feb 18, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 18, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information regarding a shooting incident on November 12, 1991, in East Timor, Indonesia, focusing on the: (1) events surrounding the shooting incident; (2) actions the Indonesian government took after the shooting; (3) positions of International Military Education and Training (IMET)-trained Indonesian Army personnel in the East Timor command structure and on Indonesian commissions charged with investigating the shooting incident; and (4) recent proposals for additional IMET training of Indonesians.

GAO found that: (1) on November 12, 1991, the Indonesian Armed Forces fired on a crowd of at least 2,000 people in the city of Dili, East Timor, killing from 50 to 100 civilians attending a memorial mass and political demonstration; (2) it is believed that the stabbing of an Indonesian Army officer by a demonstrator sparked the open-fire, but it was unknown who ordered the units to begin firing; (3) the Indonesian Army and National Police forces used semiautomatic weapons and shotguns of unknown source and manufacture during the shooting; (4) after the incident, the Indonesian government created national and military commissions to investigate the shooting and relieved from command two general officers who held positions of responsibility for East Timor operations; (5) no IMET-trained Indonesian Army officers held senior-level positions in the East Timor Army command structure during the shooting incident, but since the incident, Indonesia has given at least seven IMET-trained officials responsibility over East Timor military operations and commissions established by the Indonesian President to investigate the incident; and (6) in response to the shooting incident, U.S. and Indonesian embassy officials suggested expanding IMET training on military justice and human rights, as well as training the Indonesian National Police forces on crowd control and riot procedures.

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