Balibo remembers 40 years

The children of Balibo have led prayers to remember five newsmen who were killed 40 years ago. (AAP)

The children of Balibo, East Timor, are learning the story of the five Australia-based newsmen who were killed there, and are forever linked to their town.

The children of Balibo have led prayers to remember five newsmen who were killed while reporting the Indonesian incursion into the town 40 years ago.

The people of Balibo marked Friday's anniversary with a quiet gathering outside the house where journalist Greg Shackleton painted the Australian flag.

It's now a memorial to him and fellow journalist Malcolm Rennie, cameramen Gary Cunningham and Brian Peters, and sound recordist Tony Stewart.

A sixth journalist, Roger East, was killed in Dili on December 8, 1975.

Their killers have never been brought to justice.

On Friday night, the children came forward and lit an arc of candles in the sand around the house, before going to an outdoor screening of the film Balibo on the basketball court.

Also in the town on Friday was a group of men who had walked there from Dili; stopping at villages throughout the five-day journey to retell the story to locals.

One of the participants in the "walk against impunity", Sisto dos Santos, said it was not only the journalists' story, but the town's story, and important that it was passed to the children.

"Let them know the reality of what happened in the past," he said.

"We entrust the younger generation.

"We believe in them to continue the struggle for truth and justice.

"This is the testimony of Indonesian involvement in crimes against humanity in Timor Leste." The families of the Balibo Five say they never got a satisfactory explanation for the Australian Federal Police closing their investigation for war crimes last year.

At a dawn ceremony in Canberra on Friday, they argued that 40 years of Australian government silence had given the killers impunity.

An Indonesian foreign affairs spokesman this week maintained the five men died in accidental circumstances, and said the matter was closed.

Source AAP

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