It seems little short of extraordinary that, while women's rights groups state specifically that 168 women, mostly Chinese, were raped during the May riots, the Indonesian intelligence agents sent to investigate the charges claim to have found no evidence to support even a single claim. The anarchy that left shops reduced to rubble, homes to ashes and over one thousand people dead, almost certainly did not stop there. If women did not report their experiences to the security forces, that is hardly surprising. The police and army did nothing to protect the lives or property of those under attack at that time, and rape victims do not readily speak of their ordeal even to sympathetic authorities. Most victims would certainly shrink from doing so to the widely distrusted Indonesian security forces. Many attackers are said to have warned their victims not to report the incidents, or they would be back. Is it any wonder then that few women are willing to speak out? However, it is also undoubtedly true that at least some of the lurid accounts of rape and appalling mutilation which have appeared on the internet are fakes. Some photographs have been shown to be counterfeit. It is equally possible that stories have been exaggerated or invented to stir up international hostility towards Indonesia. Whatever the truth of the matter, an internal inquiry is no solution. If Jakarta is seriously interested in establishing the facts, the only way is to set up an independent team of outside investigators. That would remove any doubts about bias, and victims would be able to speak out with confidence. There was vague talk from consular officials that international investigators were being sought from Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan and the United States, but there do not seem to have been any firm moves in that direction. Such a team should be established without delay, because the present finding - that not one shred of evidence is available to support the allegations - only serves to damage Indonesia's credibility even further.