Subject: West Timor newspaper summaries 31 May - 7 June

West Timor Press Summaries

31st May - 7th June 2001

NTT X - NTT Eks pres; PK - Pos Kupang; ST - Surya Timor; RT - Radar Timor; SP - Sasando Pos

31st May

PK: Wirasakti Military Commander. Col. Budi Heryanto regretted the security system applied by the UN Peace Keeping Force allowing the incident of grenade explosion to occur at the border on Tuesday (29/5). The explosion injured dozens of people and killed three persons. The grenade exploded approximately 500 meters away from the border within East Timor territory, said the military commander in the sidelines, accompanying Bishop Basilio's visit to Noelbaki refugee camp in Kupang yesterday. The explosion occurred at a market that the UN Peacekeeping Force ignored its activity. If it were within Indonesian territory, such market would be considered illegal. The Military Commander said that he was not sure if the market was considered illegal by the UNPKF, but should it be legal, UNPKF would be the one responsible for its security and the incident, said the Commander. TNI is coordinating with UNPKF concerning the grenade explosion incident.

PK: Commander of Wirasakti Military Command, Col. Budi Heryanto revealed that dozens of former militia (militarised civilians) had expressed their willingness to return home to East Timor and the government will facilitate their return. Col. Heryanto stated that these former militias would be repatriated by the latest in the second week of June. There will be around 43 to 48 persons returning, said the Commander admitting he did not remember the precise number. The militias will return together with their families making the returnees around 150 persons in total.

RT: In the routine meeting of TNI and UNPKF yesterday involving the Indonesian Police (POLRI) and UN Civilian Police, it was agreed that both police forces would coordinate in investigating the suspects of the grenade explosion incident on Tuesday (29/5) at the border. UNPKF revealed that they suspected the extremist group is the party behind the grenade incident with a motive to rob the merchandise in the market including gambling activities. It was found after the incident that cash owned by traders amounting to seven million rupiahs disappeared. UNPKF informed that they managed to capture a number of East Timorese running away to the hills a moment after the explosion, but could not detain them due to lack of evidence. People in East Timor reportedly accused a former pro-integration fighter with the initial 'P' as the person behind the incident and TNI has conducted a follow up of the report by questioning 'P'. However, though he admitted being present at the incident site, he denied any role behind the explosion.

NTT X: Refugees' Affairs Taskforce will end its spontaneous repatriation facilitation through border posts starting from May 31st 2000 with the last repatriation facilitating 181 returnees today, said the chief of Taskforce, Basyiruddin Yusuf on Wednesday (30/5). Meanwhile the repatriation using Patricia Ane Hotung passenger ship will still be conducted until June 2nd. The reason for the registration halt is based on the agreement made by International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that the repatriation will be halted two days before the refugee registration begins.

2nd June

PK: Speaking after leading a ceremony celebrating Kodam IX/Udayana anniversary in Kupang yesterday, Wirasakti Military Commander, Col. Budy Heryanto told the press that despite a grenade explosion incident on Tuesday (29/5) at the border, the situation around East/West Timor borderline area is relatively safe and under control approaching the registration. There is yet a need to deploy more personnel at the border, he added. He called for refugees who wish to participate in the registration not to be influenced by the incident.

PK: Commander of 161 Wirasakti Kupang, Col. Budi Heriyanto told the press that five persons had been confirmed dead in the grenade attack incident at the border on Tuesday (29/5). Commander Heriyanto told this in Kupang yesterday. Among the victims, three were from Belu regency and two from East Timor. At least 24 people from East Nusa Tenggara were injured in the incident, and 16 more from East Timor. He admitted that TNI and POLRI are still intensifying coordination with Security Personnel in East Timor of the grenade explosion.

PK: District Government of North Central Timor complained the small amount from the registration fund. Social Division Head of TTU, Drs. Benediktus Banu confirmed on Tuesday (29/5) that the allocated fund to be disbursed by the Provincial government would not be able to cover registration expenses slated to be held on June 6th in the respective regency. Provincial Government of East Nusa Tenggara has allocated a registration fund for North Central Timor regency amounting to Rp. 85,311, 259.- covering the expenses of registration staff training including the construction of 91 registration posts.

5th June

PK: In the written speech of the Regional Police Chief, Brig. Gen, Jacky Uly, read by Vice Chief of Regional Police, Chief. Commissioner, Gories Mere at the ceremony of personnel to secure the registration process in Kupang yesterday, the Police Chief requested all not to be hesitant in taking stern measures to protect the lives of others. However the Police Chief reminded all not to over react in responding to things taking place on the ground, and action should adhere to the prevailing procedures. At least 2000 personnel of TNI and POLRI attended the ceremony. Also present were Army Wirasakti Military Commander, Col, Budi Heryanto, Kupang Air Force base Commander, Let. Col. Imam, and Kupang Navy Commander, Col. Soleman Nahor. Kapolda mentioned further in the written speech that the refugee registration would involve as many as 4.504 TNI-POLRI personnel placed at 507 polling stations throughout West Timor. The security would prioritise prevention measures and the repressive actions taken should result in preventing the spread out of disturbances. He added that the registration is an international issue and things to occur later would influence the views towards our country, therefore, anticipation of people planning to spoil the registration should be made.

NTT X: The TNI taskforce and UN Peace Keeping Force agreed to take firm measures against illegal border crossers during the registration process. Both forces agreed to prevent illegal border crossers especially those carrying firearms and showing resistance. Let Col. Magna Chandra, Chief of Borderline Security Taskforce, told the press of the coordination meeting result held on Sunday (03/6) at Mota ain. He said further, during the time of registration; 5 - 7 of June, no one is allowed to cross the border and the UNPKF had also agreed with the issuance of this decision. Attending the meeting were UNPKF West Sector Commander, Brig. Gen. Ken Gillespie, Australian Troops Batalyon, Let. Col Jeff Sengelman and a number of middle rank officers of UNPKF. From TNI, accompanying Let. Col. Magna. Chandra were Yonif 131 taskforce, Let. Col Agung Rishianto, Belu Military Commander, Let. Col, Didi Sudiana and some other military officers. Acting Chief of Belu Police, M. M. Patty and UN Civilian Police Chief of Bobonaro District, Major Jasper Kobus Mejer also attended the coordination meeting.

RT: In regards to the release of former Pro-integration fighter, Eurico Gutteres, Staff Head of UNTAET, N. Parameswaran stated last weekend that he hoped Gutteres would not be present in Kupang during the registration time since it could hamper the registration process. He foresaw the failures of the registration should Guterres be present in Kupang during the registration time.

RT: Head of Kupang Prosecutors Office, Sudhono Iswahyudi, confirmed that he had received from Military Observer Staff, Mr. Rassyd dossier of The UNPFK soldier death, Leonard Manning, who was killed by Yakobus Bere and the result of Visum et Repertum of the body. He admitted that the case is the priority at the moment but the trial of the case was hampered due to lack of evidence. Hence, the case has been almost five months adjourned. With the handing over of the dossier and the medical reports, Iswahyudi is hopeful that it would bring lights to the case.

RT: Secreatary of The Representative Office of The Republic of Indonesia to UNTAET in Dili, Sigit Wardono told the press last weekend that both parties are still discussing the resolution of asset matter including scholarship, and security problems. He stated that there have been five meetings conducted between the two parties however they have yet to reach any agreement. He hoped that the current relationship and coordination between RI and UNTAET would continue when East Timor gains its independence later and establishes its own government.

6th June

PK: Before leaving for Belu Regency to witness the registration in the respective regency yesterday (05/06), the Regional Military Commander (Pangdam), Brig. Gen. Willem da Costa stated that the East Timorese not wanting to participate in the registration could be regarded as foreigners, and their presence in the country would need to be considered further. They would be treated as illegal immigrants like those from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran who came to Kupang. The refugees who refuse to leave the country will be given a warning and requested to leave the country. Pangdam promised to take stern measures including shooting to those wanting to disturb the registration process.

PK: The security situation prior the registratoin in Atambua has been reportedly under control and favourable. At least 1,212 security personnel from TNI and Polri are deployed to secure the border areas especially at the polling stations. The local Police Chief of Belu. Adjutant Chief Commissioner, M. M. Patty said yesterday that these personnel would secure 287 polling stations in the regency. Meanwhile, there will be 25 polling stations procured for the areas throughout South Central Timor Regency (TTS) with 36 registration staff, 6 observers and 25 field coordinators for the registration, said TTS Regency Registration Team Secretary, Ir. Dominggus Jacob. It is estimated that there are at least 1.448 refugees spread out in ten sub districts in TTS regency. In Kupang, security personnel have been deployed to all polling stations since yesterday. As many as 98 polling stations are provided in Kupang city and Kupang regency, while there are 91 polling stations for North Central Timor Regency. Assisting Police personnel from Flores, Sumba and Alor have reportedly arrived in Kupang since Sunday (3/6) to back up the security during the registration.

RT: At least 750 refugees went to the Office of UNTAS in Belu. They wanted to get official letters serving as their refugee identity to be used in the registration. The office has been crowded since Monday (4/6). These are refugees who do not have identity cards. Agustinho Pinto, Head of UNTAS, stated that the office provided 24-hour service to issue the official letters for the refugees. He said that this proved refugees were very enthusiastic to participate in the registration.

NTT X: Former Commander of Pro-Integration Fighters, Dominggos Pareira told the press in Atambua yesterday (5/6) that all his subordinates are going to help security personnel to secure the registration process scheduled today (6/6). He said further that he had already coordinated with the former commanders at several refugee camps to ensure favourable conditions during the registration process.

7th June

PK: Temporary results of the registration showed that there are only 299 refugees opting to return home and 9, 778 opting to stay in Indonesia. This data was obtained as of 11 pm last night from the Registration Media Centre announced by the spokesperson of the Provincial Secretary Office, J. B Kosapilawan. This data is from eight regencies in East Nusa Tenggara. Three areas, the regency and city of Kupang, Lembata and East Flores regency, have yet to submit their count. This temporary data also showed that there are as many as 3,397 households or 17,120 persons. Only 10,141 of voters in total, with 61 persons abstain. The registration ran relatively smooth however it started late due to technical problems; ink preparation and voting cards (kartu suara) that had yet to be stamped and legalized (dicap). The refugees seemed enthusiastic in participating the registration. Based on the observations made by NTT Ekspress, at three polling stations in Naibonat, Tuapukan and Noelbaki camps, the refugees had started to come to the polling stations even before 8 a.m. Some of the refugees who were interviewed stated that they wanted to return home but were still unsure of the security situation including the economic situation in East Timor. They further said they would return if UNTAET is able to give a warranty.

NTT X: Contacted by the NTT Ekspress last night, the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara stated that the registration process ran smoothly and was relatively safe. This was conceded by both Regional Police Chief, Maj. Gen. Jacky Uly and Wirasakti Military Commander (Danrem), Budi Heriyanto asserting that the registration process at all regency polling stations in West Timor ran smoothly. The Governor stated further that the objectivity of the present registration is highly accountable with the presence of both international and local observers. He was amazed with the enthusiasm shown by the refugees in the registration, thanking all the parties involved in making the registration such a success. The transparency of the registration was also shown with the presence of international media; BBC London and NHK as well as mass media locally, and from Jakarta.

NTT X: The registration session in Belu regency was conducted simultaneously at 288 polling stations throughout the regency. The session ran smoothly without any disturbances. Thousands of refugees flocked to the polling stations to give their vote. Due to an upsurged number of refugees participating in registration, the scheduled time was extended to an indefinite length of time. Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa and Vice Chief of Police, Goris Mere were present during the registration session in Belu.

NTT X: Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa told the press yesterday in Atambua that TNI intelligence has identified certain parties as provocateurs among the refugees. They have been trying to worsen the 1999 ballot trauma felt by refugees to hamper the registration process. He promised to take stern measures against those people; should the registration fail or if in later days they were proven breaching Indonesian policy and law.

NTT X: The process of registration in North Central Timor Regency (TTU) ran smoothly although most of the polling stations were without the presence any international or local observers. Meanwhile from South Central Timor Regency (TTS), the registration also ran without disturbances. The Regent of TTS, Willem Nope and Vice Governor Johanis Pake Pani visited several polling stations in the regency to witness the process of registration. A refugee coordinator, Frans Haumetan from Noemuti sub-district, was upset, as there were no observers present in North Central Timor Regency.

NTT X: Duration time for the registration session for the refugees in West Timor had to be extended until Thursday (07/06) since many of the refugees had yet to give their vote in the registration session yesterday. As of last night, the majority of the refugees voted overwhelmingly to stay in Indonesian territory. Interestingly, at a number of polling stations in Kupang City, many of the participants do not originate from East Timor. Many of them were visitors who once stayed or worked in East Timor before the 1999 ballot.

PK: The UN transitional administration for East Timor has requested the handing over of the death case of UNPFK member to East Timor. The request was made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General's Office. The reason for this is that the alleged murderer, with initiasl JB, is an East Timorese citizen not Indonesian. Responding to this, Head of NTT Prosecutors' office, Sudhono Iswahyudi has sent a letter to the Regional Police Chief, Brig. Gen. Jacky Uly to clarify the legality of JB's citizenship. JB is at present detained at Belu Police Base. Roberth Tacoy, the spokesperson of the prosecutors office stated that the dossier and visum et repertum of the body handed over by UNTAET were copies of the original documents, hence, they cannot be used in the legal process of the case.

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