|Subject: West Timor newspaper summaries
22nd June - 3rd July
West Timor Press Summaries
22nd June - 3rd July
NTT X - NTT Eks pres; PK - Pos Kupang; ST - Surya Timor; RT - Radar Timor; SP - Sasando Pos
PK: The team leader of ten visiting POLRI members to East Timor, Apolinario da Silva told the press in Atambua yesterday that they had witnessed the people in East Timor ready to welcome the return of East Timor-born Police members and other former refugees to their homeland. He said further that this willingness was not only expressed by political leaders like Xanana Gusmao and David Dias Ximenes, and other religious leaders, such as Bishop Carlos Bello but it was also expressed by chieftains and people in the villages.NTT X: A Joint Border Post funded by International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mota Ain and Metamauk areas was officially opened to operate on Wednesday (20/6). Government officers from Customs and Immigration Office of Belu and Police Officers attended the inauguration of the joint post.
RT: Regent of Kupang, Drs. Ibrahim A. Medah stated that out of 700 units prepared for the refugee resettlement program, 670 units are ready to be used. The resettlement houses were built in 19 sub districts in Kupang regency. The project itself has already exceeded its allotted time. It was supposed to be completed at the end of year 2000. The Regent stated that the delay was due to a technical problem including geographical condition of the locations and weather problems.
PK: Vice Governor of East Nusa Tenggara was reported to say that the government is still appraising steps to legalize the operation of trades around the border. He believed the legalization of the market will help improve control of the activity around the borderline. The Vice Governor told the press yesterday that the provincial government had urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry to issue a decree to legalize the operation of the market. He stated that the ministry could regulate the types of goods involved in the trades.
ST: Former Operational Commander of Militia, Moko Soares was released from Kupang penitentiary on Friday (22/6) after having been in jail for 18 months. He was sentenced for illegal possession of firearms.
ST: Tetun to become official language in Timor Leste (Dili) Speaking to Surya Timor journalist in Dili, the Secretary General of Sosialista Timorense Party, one of the political parties in East Timor contending in the forthcoming election, Avelinho Coelho, said that his party would struggle to make Tetun, a local dialect in East Timor, to become the official language in East Timor.
NTT X: Reports from ten policemen who had visited East Timor stated that The UN Civilian Police uphold the law in the new country to all the people, said the Vice Police Chief, Chief Commr. Gories Mere. He said further that the ten police members who visited the 12 districts in East Timor from June 12th to 17th concluded that the security situation in East Timor had been favourable and conducive. The Civilian Police is upholding the law to all the people regardless of what group the people belong to.
PK: Vice Regent of Belu regency Drs. Bria Yohanes, reminded the apparatus facilitating the returning of the refugees to retrieve the former refugees' Indonesian Citizenship Identity Card (KTP). This is to prevent them from misusing it when they return to East Timor or the possibility for them to hold two citizenships.
RT: Great concern over possible effect of the recent football incident earlier this month still lingers on. This is because a number of people, happened to be East Timorese refugees, who suffered from losses during the clash refused the peace process without any payment of the their material losses. At least ten former refugees came to the legislative assembly of Belu to voice out their rejection of the peace process plan without any payment of the losses. The asset owned by former East Timorese people damaged during the clash consist of three cars and two motorcycles. Speaker of TNI-Polri faction at the house, Adj. Commr. Leonardus Wodo suggested these East Timorese to discuss the matter with the Government of Belu.
RT: A team of UN Security Council is slated to visit West Timor early next month. The team will come to assess the security situation in the territory. The visit will also serve as an evaluation of the issuance of Security Phase V status following the incident in Atambua in September last year. Staff Chief of UNTAET, N. Parameswaran was quoted by Antara as saying that he had already received the confirmation of the visit by the UN Security Council Team. He is hopeful that the security status would be revoked later. Parameswaran was yet able to name the exact number of members of the team but assured that the visit of the team early next month had been confirmed.
RT: Sources informed that the smuggling cases around the border involved members of Borderline Security Taskforce. The hand over of border security control from Battalion 413 to Battalion 641 had worsened the control over the smugglings. Witnesses told that the smuggling of goods could even go to East Timor through security post. In Early hours of June 3rd, some people reported of seeing people smuggling staple food and building materials through the post to the enclave of Oecussi. Contacted by Radar Timor, Commander of Batallion 641, Haryono admitted of not knowing the matter and promised to probe the alleged smuggling involvement of his subordinates.
ST: East Timorese people from local transmigration site in Sulamu village launched an attack to the locals in Sulamu village, in Kupang regency, on Saturday (23/6). Situation in the village turned tense, thousands of locals asked the government to evacuate themselves out of the village. Sources reported that the attacks had actually been done for several times and made the locals weary living in fears of possible attacks by the East Timorese people. They then requested the government to locate them out of their own village to a different place away from the threats from the refugees.
NTT X: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here in Kupang yesterday indicating an agreement to accelerate the investigation of the murder of a UNPKF member from New Zealand last year. The agreement was signed by the representatives of the two governments yesterday (26/6). In the signing of the memorandum, UNTAET was represented by the Attorney General, Muhammad Othman, while the Head of East Nusa Tenggara's Prosecutors' Office, Sudhono Iswahyudi, S. H, and Provincial Police Chief, Brig. Gen. Drs. Jacky Uly, M. Sc, represented the Indonesian government. . There were seven points of agreement in the MoU, among which stated the agreement to accelerate the investigation of the murder case and UNTAET is willing to present the evidence and witnesses of the case and to facilitate the Indonesian Police in the investigation.
NTT X: The security situation in Sulamu Village, Kupang, has improved following the clash between former East Timor refugees and the locals at the village on Saturday (23/6). Vice Regent of Kupang, Frits Djubida BE, told NTT Ekspress yesterday (26/6) that he had visited the site accompanied by the regional military commander, Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa and witnessed that the situation had improved. Security personnel were seen at the site securing the site. No further conflict after the incident last weekend has been reported so far.
PK: The Attorney General's office of UNTAET will announce the suspects of human rights perpetrators in the near future. Attorney General of UNTAET, Muhammad Othman told this to the press after attending the signing of memorandum of understanding between Indonesian Government and UNTAET regarding the investigation of a murder of UNPKF member from New Zealand. The team of investigators will name the suspects of Human Rights perpetrators by the end of July or August this year, said Othman. There had also been 46 suspects being identified as the human rights perpetrators in East Timor. 30 persons have been held in East Timor, while the rest are still in Indonesian territory.
RT: Antara reported that a reunion meeting of the former pro integration fighters' families turned tense yesterday at Mota Ain Border Post. Two helicopters of UNMO were seen hovering above the post controlling the situation in vicinity. The wife of one former pro- integration commander, Johana do Santos was facilitated to meet with her parents who are now living in East Timor. Fearing of possible destructive actions by the former pro integration members, UNMO officers were even instructed by UNPKF to disperse the gathering of former pro-integration members at a place 5 kilometres away from the Post.
NTT X: Markus Sali, one of the staff of Refugees' Affairs taskforce told Pos Kupang on Tuesday at Mota Ain Post that there were 9,610 persons repatriated prior to the refugees' registration on June 6th. Post the registration, there have been 602 persons repatriated and the graphic of returnees shows a tendency to increase. Out of that number, 39 persons are military members and 234 of their family members. He stated that there is yet a report of complains from the returnees after arriving to their homelands. This, he purported, has shown an improved social life in East Timor.
PK: Agustinho Pinto, Head of UNTAS, told the press on Wednesday in Atambua that the refugees are ready to hold dialogues with the visiting Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs, Gen. Agum Gumelar. He claimed that the refugees would strongly state to the Minister of their rejection to be moved out from the camps particularly out from West Timor areas. Refugees would also report their actual physical and psychological conditions to the minister hoping for a real response for their better fates in the future.
NTT X: Coordinating Minister of Political, Social and Security Affairs, Agum Gumelar arrived in Kupang yesterday afternoon accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy, Surjadi Soedirdja, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Alhilal Hamdi, and Minister of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure, Ir. Erna Witoelar. Speaking after a dialogue with a number of religious leaders, community figures and activists from Non Governmental Organisation, Agum asserted that the refugees who have opted to stay in Indonesia in the registration should be willing to be relocated to other areas in Indonesia in the resettlement program to solve their problems. This is in line with the capability of East Nusa Tenggara Province that it could only host about 6000 former refugees, said the minister. Concerning the possible rejection by the refugees to be relocated, Agum stated that if they have chosen to remain as Indonesian citizens then they have to abide the law applied in this country. The minister is scheduled to visit Belu regency today.
NTT X: A Dialogue Forum for the future of East Nusa Tenggara revealed its stance statements to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Social, and Security Affairs at Kristal Hotel in Kupang last night. The stance statements were produced after a critical discussion and analysis of the forum based on valid data and facts. They urged that Government has to appraise strategic steps towards the fact that more than 98% refugees opted to stay in the territory. While, it is also a widely known fact here that the people in West Timor have refused to host the hundreds of thousands of former East Timor Refugees in the area due to bitter experiences they have had living together with the East Timorese people. The Forum foresaw a possible outbreak of negative effect of this condition if the government ignored to take into consideration of this present situation. The forum also presented several other points including, the statement of considering the registration as another voting process which was perpetrated with intimidation, money politics, and some other deviations including the abuse of human rights to voice out their choices. The forum also demanded the government to clarify the status that 98% of the people opting to stay in Indonesia while these former refugees were 'forced' to give their votes. The handling of the refugees in the settlement program should be done carefully and be relocated proportionally in areas in the country.
NTT X: Believing the rumours of an attack from East Timorese People, the people of Sulamu Village, in Kupang regency on Tuesday night fled to Mouse Island, a tiny island closed to the village, and stayed there overnight away from the rumoured attack. The situation has got back to normal after government officers coordinated with a number of East Timorese leaders gave clarification of the true situation to the villagers. They were then willing to return to the village.
PK: Speaking to the press at El Tari Airport in Kupang yesterday to end his visit in West Timor areas, Coordinating Minister for Social, Political and Security Affairs Agum Gumelar said that the recent refugee registration did not serve as a point to revoke the status of refugees of the East Timorese residing in West Timor areas. It was conducted as to resolve the refugees' problems. In the press conference, Agum Gumelar was accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs Surjadi Soedirdja, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Settlement Erna Witoelar, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Al Hilal Hamdi,
PK: Commander Adm. Widodo AS. Agum explained further that the visit made was to witness the real situation of the refugees on the ground whether it is in line with the reports coming to Jakarta. Witnessing the refugees' situation himself, he indicated of few things needed to be evaluated further. The minister hoped that the refugees would understand the conditions and be willing to participate in either repatriation or resettlement program, since they could not live forever in camps. This situation (the presence of refugees), he asserted, bring certain impacts to the lives of people around.
NTT X: East Timorese Leader, Xanana Gusmao expressed his regret over the posting of photos of three former members of Thunder Militiamen (Milisi Halilintar) by UN Peace Keeping Force from Australia. He stated that he understood the intention of such act was to protect the people of East Timor and the Peacekeeping force members themselves, but the act could falter the bid towards reconciliation and justice for East Timorese. Xanana said that he did not recognize the three members of militiamen in the posters nor was he contacted by the Force before posting the photos of the militiamen. Xanana stated the problem could result in a bigger problem for the people of East Timor.
PK: East Timor refuges since early of June have cut down Tamborine trees along the streets from Atambua to Dili in Belu regency. Antara news agency reported that at least five hectares of tambourine forest had been cut clear by the refugees. Refugees admitted that cutting down the forest is against the law and could endanger the environmental condition around the forest but pleaded that they did not have any other choice than cutting down the forest preparing for the farmland in November. The refugees are weary of just hoping to get aid all the time.
PK: In the dialogue with the Coordinating Minister of Social, Political, and Security Affairs, Agum Gumelar, one of former East Timorese people, Francisco Pareira sounded out the East Timorese people's wish for the government to facilitate a meeting of the people with the UN staff to hold talks about the history of East Timor integration to Indonesia. He considered that the UN has misunderstood the history by considering such movement as annexation by the Indonesian Government. While in reality, it was the people's own wills to integrate with the Indonesian Government. An overwhelming result of people voting to stay in the country in the recent refugee registration is one of the evidence that the people of East Timor taking shelter in West Timor still love Indonesia.
NTT X: As many as 310 persons were known to have crossed the border to East Timor through Kewar, Belu regency. Batallion 131/Braja Sakti Commander, Let. Col. Agung Risdhianto told this at the Tactical Command Post at Sanabibi in Assisting East Tasifeto subdistrict on Saturday. The illegal crossers crossed the border on June 10th, 16th and 18th. It is difficult to control the border activity in this area due to unavailability of any security post here. There was once a border post but was closed due to protest made by the local people there, said Risdhianto.
NTT X: Bukit Barisan Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen. I Gede Purnawa, around 3 p.m on Saturday conducted a visit and inspected his soldiers that have been stationed at the border for six months. Included in the entourage were Deputy Operation of Bukit Barisan Military Base, Let. Col M. Yunus, and Military Staff Chief 161/Wirasakti, Letcol. Agung Mayun. The entourage went to the border aboard helicopter owned by Udayana Regional Military Base. Commander, Maj. Gen. I Gede Purnawa told that his visit was instructed by the Military Headquarters in Jakarta to boost up the spirit and motivation of his members.
NTT X: In an informal talk with journalists here yesterday, Eurico Guterres, former Deputy of Prointegration Fighters proposed a temporary separation of East Timor territory. Half of the territory would be occupied by the pro integration and the other half would be for the pro independence and the borderline between the two territories would be guarded by UN peacekeeping force. In this way a natural reconciliation among the East Timorese could be achieved, he purported. He reasoned that 21% East Timorese who voted for Indonesia in 1999 ballots have the rights to voice out this idea. Guterres added the current bid for reconciliation is difficult to be success since internal problems exist within each of the two groups. When this internal problems could be settled, the reconciliation of the two conflicting group could then be achieved.
PK: Vice Chief of Provincial Police Base, Snr Commr. Drs. Gories Mere will lead an investigation team to New Zealand to question witnesses in connection with the murder of a New Zealand peacekeeper, Leonard Manning, last year. The team will leave for Dili, East Timor this weekend. The team will question eight witnesses in Dili and three witnesses in New Zealand. Indonesian Police investigation team was given authority to conduct the investigation after the signing of memorandum of understanding between the two governments here last month.
PK: Coordinators of East Timorese refugees from camps in Belu regency are still occupying the office of Belu Regent demanding the disbursement of side dish money for the refugees in Belu. Antara news agency reported this from Atambua yesterday.
RT: Military Court of Kupang to hold trial for the smuggling of goods cases to East Timor involving three members of TNI. The dossier of the case had been handed over by Military Prosecutors' office of Kupang since June. Commander of Denpom IX- Kupang, Major, CHK Eddy Rate Muis, SH told Radar Timor that the hand over of the dossier was also accompanied with the handing over of a number evidence including several boxes of cigarettes. The custody of the three suspects held Denpom has now officially become the custody of Military Prosecutors' Office. The three members were from Batallion 502 of Belu and were caught red handed smuggling goods to East Timor on February 7th earlier this year.
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