Subject: Lusa: Shipload of Refugees Home for Christmas

Lusa East Timor: Shipload of Refugees Home for Christmas Holidays 22 Dez-12:43

A ship carrying 245 East Timoreses refugees, some allegedly former anti-independence militiamen, arrived in Dili from Indonesia Friday to spend the Christmas season at home.

Coming from the West Timor capital of Kupang, the vessel was guarded by several dozen UN peacekeepers. The passengers were being identified and screened by UN and Dili officials before being transported to their homes across the territory.

A spokesman for the International Migration Organization, one of the voyage´s organizers, told Lusa that none of the passengers had known links to pro-Indonesia militias and that those who chose to remain in East Timor could freely do so.

However, at least one passenger, Horacio Cabeçadas, was identified by locals as a former militia leader in the eastern town of Los Palos.

Cabeçadas told journalists at the port that he was returning "without fear" as he had "never harmed anyone" and hoped to be received "as a brother".

He said he planned to return to West Timor after the holidays but that he would consider repatriation if he were reintegrated into the civil service with the same status he had had under Indonesian occupation.

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