Subject: Lusa: Refugees Returning Home on Their Own - UNHCR Official

East Timor: Refugees Returning Home on Their Own - UNHCR Official 31 Oct-19:05

A 121-strong group of East Timorese refugees returned home to the Oe Cusse enclave Monday without outside help in the biggest unaided repatriation since July, an UN official said Tuesday in Geneva.

Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said returnees reported that anti-East Timor militias continued in control of some refugee camps in West Timor, threatening people who wanted to go home.

"Some refugees spoke of paying local officials in order to leave the camps. Others paid drivers or other refugees to help transport their belongings," Janowski said.

About 1,000 refugees, he added, had made their way home from Indonesian West Timor on their own since Sept. 6, when the UNHCR suspended its operations due to the killing of three of its workers by militias in the West Timor town of Atambua.

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