Indonesian Church official confirms brainwashing of Timorese refugee children
An Indonesian diocesan official has supported the findings of a Sydney Morning Herald investigation that at least 130 East Timorese children have been taken from their families in refugee camps in West Timor and brought to Java to be trained as anti-independence militias.
The paper reported that many of the children, aged between six and 17 and staying in orphanages near Semarang in central Java, were ill and deeply traumatised after being separated from their parents in the refugee camps. They are also forced to live in small spaces in substandard hygienic conditions.
Herald sources alleged that "there is a plan for East Timor to come back to Indonesia and the children are part of it".
One of the men responsible for organising the transferral of the children, Octavio Soares - nephew of East Timor's former pro-integrationist governor Abilio Soares - denied the allegation, insisting that the children are only sent to Java for their education.
But Paulus Mudjiran of the Semarang Catholic Bishop's office, told the newspaper that "the children were probably brought to the orphanages for other reasons".