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Intelligence chief
Sub-area command (Korem) 164
East Timor

Maj (Inf) R M Bambang Wisnumurthy

Head, Intelligence Section (Kasi Intel), Korem 164/ Wira Dharma (East Timor)

This officer should be investigated for arming and controlling militias and for terrorising journalists.

On 9 June 1999 the territory's only locally produced newspaper, Suara Timor Timur (STT), carried interviews with some locals who were unhappy with the military presence in East Timor. Afterwards Bambang Wisnumurthy interrogated a journalist from the paper, Lourenco Martins. Bambang reminded him that the paper's offices had already been attacked before by militias (in April), and that Bambang had it in his power to let them do it properly this time. He then told Lourenco that he had personally threatened to execute another STT journalist, Metha Guterres. He said: 'You know where Metha is now? In Jakarta isn't he? I'm telling you, Metha should never imagine himself setting foot in Dili again. If he tries to step into Dili he won't live. As for you, Lourenco, don't you try to set foot in Liquica. If you dare to go there you're going to get killed by the BMP [militia]'.[1]

After the first attack on the STT offices he said journalists should follow their own professional standards more closely if they did not want to be 'exposed to attack'.[2]

Leaked Australian intelligence intercepts show that on 1 June 1999 East Timor military commander Col Tono Suratman told notorious militia leader Eurico Guterres to henceforth contact him via 'Bambang' [Wisnumurthy]. The actual point of contact for militias was an officer working under Bambang, a Lieutenant Masbuku (this could be a code name or mis-spelled).[3]

Just before the 30 August ballot, 'Pak Bambang' is mentioned in a transcript of radio traffic between TNI command posts. Radio frequencies, in this case in the two metre band, had been previously allocated for militia use by Jakarta military headquarters, as the Australian intercepts show. The conversation concerned an order to collect five firearms after first reporting to Bambang, who is presumed to be Wisnumurthy. The remainder of the conversation concerned orders to both soldiers (Abri) and militias (Aitarak, Ablai, Mahidi), and used a language of war against the CNRT. The standard greeting exchanged was 'goodnight, total integration greetings, until the last drop of blood' (' Selamat malam, salam integrasi total sampai titik darah penghabisan').[4]

The conversation confirmed what Bambang later told the Far Eastern Economic Review, namely that the military had organised the militia groups.[5]

In April 2000 another feared militia leader, Laurentino 'Moko' Soares, told an Indonesian court that he had received firearms from two Kopassus (SG) officers named Bambang and Zainuddin. While the court did not pursue this lead, it seems likely that the first was Bambang Wisnumurthy.

Another of his subordinates in 1999 was Capt Edy Doso Prasetyo.

Extra Information

Current Status:
1 - Priority 1 for further investigation. Not included in any other formal list, but mentioned in other independent reports, and supported by considerable data.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Laurentino ('Moko') Soares
Col Tono Suratman

[1] 'Kasi Intel Korem 164 ancam STT', MateBEAN, 11 June 1999.

[2] Reporters sans frontières, 'RSF annual report 2000 (East Timor section)', RSF (Vincent Brossel - Asia Pacific Desk <[email protected]>), 2 May 2000; 'Gus Dur setujui aparat militer dihukum',  TNI Watch!, 3 November 1999.

[3] Hamish McDonald, 'Australia's bloody East Timor secret', 'Silence over a crime against humanity', Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2002.

[4] 'Rekaman radio antar komandan TNI di Timtim', TNI Watch! 6 October 1999. Western intelligence archives will contain many more such transcripts. This example underlines the need for these archives to be opened.

[5] 'East Timor: Scorched earth', Far Eastern Economic Review, 16 September 1999.


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