Subject: Refugees, West Timor locals in renewed fighting

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts Saturday, July 08, 2000 Source: 'Bali Post' web site, Denpasar, in Indonesian 7 Jul 00

Refugees, West Timor locals in renewed fighting

The 7th July Internet edition of Denpasar-based daily 'Bali Post' reported that more violence between East Timorese refugees and the local community in Tuapukan, West Timor, broke out on Thursday 6th July. Oesao village residents and hundreds of their supporters from around Kupang launched a counter-attack against the refugee camp at Tuapukan in retaliation for the burning and looting of their homes last Saturday (1st July).

At least 21 refugees were reported injured in the attack, including two with serious machete wounds and a dozen others hurt when a mob attacked and rolled over the vehicle they were travelling in.

The Indonesian-language daily reported that the main road between Kupang, the provincial capital of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), and East Timor, was still blocked by locals. Police and military vehicles were prevented from approaching the scene.

The 'Bali Post' report also said that a truckload of East Timorese youths dressed in military-style uniforms and carrying bladed weapons were later seen in the vicinity of the Tuapukan refugee camp forcing vehicles to stop and threatening the occupants.

The report said that Commander Military Area Command IX/Udayana Maj-Gen Kiki Syahnakri held a meeting in Kupang with NTT Governor Piet A. Tallo. Before the meeting, he said that the violence between refugees and locals at Tuapukan was a big problem for the Indonesian National Military Forces (TNI). TNI required a lengthy amount of time to determine the strategies and policies to deal with the Tuapukan and Noelbaki refugees.

After the meeting, Syahnakri said that he wanted to withdraw all TNI personnel living with the civilian refugees from the Tuapukan and Noelbaki camps, however this was difficult due to East Timorese culture which did not allow families to be separated. If a TNI soldier was sent back to live at the barracks, he was accompanied by dozens of civilian family members. He said that lack of funds was the key obstacle to any plans to either retire and/or relocate soldiers and the families.


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