Subject: Chronology of the Conflict in Nawen, West Timor

NTT X ­ NTT Ekspres Monday, 8 January 2001

NTT X—Chronology of the Conflict in Nawen, West Timor

Following is an abbreviated version of the chronology, based on accounts of witnesses who have fled to Kupang:

26 December: A fight breaks out outside a Protestant church service after refugee youths are offended by the remarks of a local. A village elder tries to break up the fight and is attacked. Locals come to his rescue, and the refugees flee. A group of about ten refugee youths returns shortly, armed with machetes and knives. Locals eventually chase the refugees out, confiscating a sword.

27 December: Village leaders contact refugee leaders, including a TNI member whose sons were involved in the fighting, and they agree to hold a peace-making meeting that afternoon, before the scheduled joint Christmas service. Locals gather at the village hall to await the refugees, but they do not come. Just as locals are leaving for home, a group of refugees armed with machetes and stones attacks them. Local leaders on both sides are able to quell the disturbance. The local head of the resettlement program reports the incident to the military post in Sulamu. It is agreed to try again to hold a peacemaking meeting on 30 December. Refugee and local leaders promise to rein in their people in the meantime.

28 December: Early in the morning, announcements are made that the Regent and Sub-regent (Bupati and Camat) will arrive shortly to oversee a reconciliation meeting, and the people are to gather at the village hall in traditional dress. Shortly afterward, news arrives that two trucks full of armed (swords, stones, and guns) men are coming from the direction of the Sulamu camp. An alarm is sounded, and people gather at the village hall. Two long-haired men in camouflage uniforms arrive on motorcycles. Following them, the refugees arrive and begin to attack the village. People run for cover as the attackers begin to loot and burn houses. A local man is stabbed, and several others suffer machete wounds. The church is also looted.

The village chief flees to a local police post and is escorted to Kupang, arriving at around 6:30 a.m. By 7:00 a mobile brigade is dispatched, arriving in Nawen at around 9:00. The police were kept out of the area by refugees, however, who said a TNI platoon had arrived ahead of them and they were handling the situation. The refugees said they would rather deal with TNI. Meanwhile, the looting and burning continued.

29 December: Locals take refuge in the forest, neighboring villages, or flee to the homes of relatives in Kupang. The original village of Nawen has been mostly burned down.

1-3 January: Villagers arrive in Kupang by boat, and report to police and Regent. East Timor refugees are evacuated from Nawen, and emergency aid sent to locals.

4 January: A local resident, thinking it safe to return to Nawen, is stopped on the road and stabbed in the stomach. He escapes and flees to Kupang by boat.

[ST reports that the estimated damage to government resettlement facilities in the incident is currently set at Rp. 3.174 billion = US$340,000.00. This does not include the damage to private homes outside the resettlement area.]


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