Subject: West Timor Press Summaries January 2002

received from "Charmain MOHAMED" <mohamedc@un.org>

Please find attached, and below as text, summaries from the West Timorese Press from January 2002.

West Timor Press Summaries

8th January ? 29th January 2002

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

8th January PK: In a press briefing at the Governor's office yesterday (7 Jan.), the Minister of Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy, Hari Sabarno stated that the data of the registration conducted in June 2001 could not be used since there is still confusion over the figure. There could be a need to conduct another registration to record those who wish to be relocated and repatriated home, he added.

PK: 18 Chieftains from enclave Oecusse came to the border to hold a meeting with a number of refugee leaders. The meeting was held last Saturday (5 Jan.) at the border post in Napan Village, North Central Timor District (TTU) discussing reconciliation and repatriation issues and mediated by religious leaders from both districts. Witnessing the dialogue were authorities from both governments including the Indonesian Military and Police. The meeting produced a recommendation for the 18 chieftains to make visits in camps in TTU on 21 January 2002. In response to the request from refugees conveyed by a refugee leader, Simon Lopez, concerning security warranty, all the chieftains expressed their willingness to be responsible for guaranteeing the safety of the returnees once they settle in the villages in Oecusse. Both groups also agreed to hold a traditional ceremony at the border before the refugees cross the border marking the end of hatred and conflict between the two groups. Refugee leaders assured the chieftains for being able to encourage the return of all refugees originating from Oecusse in TTU.

RT: Some refugee leaders lambasted Udayana Military Chief, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa for the statement he made recently when leading some military ceremonies in West Timor. Military Chief, Maj. Gen, da Costa in a number of occasions had ordered his soldiers to shoot at any refugee wanting to create unrest in West Timor. Joao Martins, a refugee leader from North Central Timor district, stated that the statement indicated that the military chief did not really understand the limit of authorities of the institution that he is now leading. Deputy for Law and Human Rights of UNTAS (an organisation for East Timorese in exile), Carlos de Fatima lambasted the military chief saying that he did not understand the character of the East Timorese who would fight for their rights when oppressed.

RT: Police Chief of Belu, Adj. Snr Comr, Nender Yani informed a possible problem that might obstruct the repatriation process of refugees. He stated that refugees have used the passport to go back and forth to East Timor since the cost to arrange for a passport is affordable for refugees. This is prone to the dissemination of wrong information about the situation in East Timor and could in turn ruin the ongoing repatriation process.

9th January

PK: Victims of diarrhoea attack in Belu has now reached 13 deaths as reported by Vice District Head of Belu, Bria Johanes to Pos Kupang, yesterday. 142 others are now treated at the local health posts and public hospital. The tentative data shows that diarrhoea is now attacking 15 villages in Rinhat, Kobalima, and West Malaka sub districts. The number of fatalities is feared to increase if the medicine supply from Kupang is late arriving in Atambua. The district government has conducted several actions in trying to curb the spreading of the disease such as; epidemiological research, new cases investigation, procurement of posts for handling the patients and dissemination of information of the prevention and its' first aid. Vice District Head, Johanes informed that medicine aid from Provincial Health Office are expected to be distributed to the affected villages soon.

RT: The Head of the Information Section of the Provincial Government Office, Marsel Tupen Masan stated that based on the Governor's report to the Minister of Home Affairs on Monday (7 Jan.), the number of East Timorese seeking refuge in West Timor was 39, 937 families and the repatriation program has managed to facilitate 2,025 families to return (11,034 persons). There are 37,912 families still residing in the West Timor area and the Government estimates that, out of which, at least 34,121 families would want to return. For those who choose to stay in Indonesia, the Government, through its Department of Resettlement and Regional Infrastructure and Department of Transmigration has provided 1,242 resettlement houses to live in.

10th January

PK: Entering the sixteenth day of the diarrhoea outbreak in Belu, the number of people killed has reached 17 and 502 others are presently being treated at the local public health posts and hospital. Initial assumption is that the outbreak was resulted by a strange virus and the government has instructed that all victims be buried no longer than 24 hours after death to prevent a wider spreading of the virus. Vice District head of Belu, Drs, Bria Johanes stated this yesterday in Atambua adding that this assumption is still to be confirmed through a laboratory research. The District Government had already distributed medicine and money assistance to the people in the affected villages. Diarrhoea attacked 16 villages in five sub districts over the past two weeks in Belu, including villages of Tohe, Lalekun, Tafuli, Besikama, and Leun Tolu.

NTT X: Spokesperson of Provincial Police, 1st Insp, Chusnul Waton informed yesterday (9 Jan.) that 205 Middle East illegal immigrants had been relocated to Lombok Island aboard the Passenger Ship Dobonsolo. The return was facilitated by International Organisation for Migration (IOM). As of now, there are still 145 others who are residing at the Police School in Kupang.

NTT X: In a meeting with Commissions of the Provincial Legislative held yesterday in Kupang, the Governor, Piet A. Talo stated that the assistance distributed to the East Timor refugees in 2001 reached more than Rp. 96 billion. This was distributed to 31,040 families or 151,159 persons.

11th January

PK: Legislative assembly of Belu send team to diarrhoea-affected villages (Atambua) District Legislative Assembly of Belu has sent members to visit the diarrhoea-affected villages. As of yesterday, data showed that 17 people have died and the number of people currently treated at the local health posts and hospital has reached 671. 18 villages have now been affected by the outbreak of this disease. The number of victims is feared out to increase as heavy rain poured in most of Belu District areas yesterday.

PK: Speaker of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) faction at the Provincial Legislative, Drs. Simon Hayon, in a joint-commission plenary session held on Wednesday (9 Jan.), revealed that the refugees who had returned to East Timor informed of receiving less amount of the incentives promised to them. They found this upon arrival in East Timor when they opened their envelope. Simon Hayon alleged the embezzlement of the money was done by members of Satkorlak PBP (Provincial Coordinating Unit for Disaster Management and IDPs/Refugees). The plenary session was also attended by Governor, Piet A. Talo who then contended that such embezzlement is impossible since payment is conducted transparently.

RT: Vice Governor, Drs. Johanis Pake Pani stated that he hoped the Government of East Kalimantan Province would be willing to receive relocation of the ex-East Timor transmigrants to its area. Vice Governor, Pake Pani told this after meeting with a visiting entourage from the East Kalimantan Government yesterday. Three other provinces: South Sumatera, Central Kalimantan and Lampung are the provinces that have welcomed the relocation of the transmigrants.

12th January

NTT X: Head of Social Affairs Office, Dr. Husein Pancratius said on Friday (11 Jan.) that his office had procured 182 tonnes of rice to anticipate natural disasters in 2002. The rice is to be distributed to the affected areas with approval from the Governor.

14th January

Atambua) Villagers of Lasaen and Sikun in West Malaka sub-district have been used to consume water taken from the Benenain River without even boiling it. This was assumed to have contributed to the outbreak of diarrhoea in the two villages. Meanwhile, according to according to a staff of local health post in West Malaka subdistrict, the spreading of the disease has already been controlled. There is no report of fatalities. As of last week, 17 have died with the outbreak of diarrhoea in five subdisrtricts in Belu District. District Head, Marselus Bere and his Deputy, Bria Johanes came to visit several affected village in West Malaka and Kobalima district.

15th January

RT: A local non governmental organisation named "Mandiri Timor Care" discovered an embezzlement of refugees' assistance in Lasiana village in Kupang district. In a letter sent by the director of the NGO, Semy Leunupun, to Radar Timor, he reported that in the distribution of rice and side dish money on 24 December 2001 in Lasiana village, there were at least 105 fictitious refugees who received the rice assistance and side dish money. Police are now investigating the case.

16th January

NTT X: Several villages along the northern coast of North Central Timor District are feared to face shortage of food due to harvest failure this year. The prolonged dry season has dried out hundreds of hectares of corn plants at the villages. According to the sub-district head of North Insana, Drs. Barnabas Siki when meeting with Vice Governor on Monday (15 Jan.) at least 681 families are to face failure of harvest due to the prolonged dry season.

PK: Entering the twentieth day since the outbreak of diarrhoea in Belu, 846 persons are recorded to have been hospitalised. There have been no reports of deaths due to the disease. This is due to measures taken by the District Government in trying to curb the spread of the disease. 19 villages in 6 sub-districts have been hit by diarrhoea outbreaks over the last three weeks.

17th January

NTT X: Speaking to the press at the Governor's office on Wednesday (16 Jan.), a Bakornas deputy, Ir. Budi Atmadi Saputra, stated that the government and UN agencies had launched an appeal to the international community to the amount of US$25 million for the payment of the refugees' compensation fund. This fund is allocated for former civil servants, military and police members who wish to decide to return to East Timor. The payment will be managed by UNDP and will be done when the refugees arrive in East Timor.

18th January

NTT X: During the meeting with the Deputy Representative of UNHCR in Indonesia on Thursday (17 Jan.), Governor, Piet Talo stated that the plan to relocate the refugees to Wetar Island needs reconsidering in addition to the available options to relocate the refugees to Flores and Sumba. Meanwhile, Deputy Representative of UNHCR, Robert White, put emphasis yesterday that he hoped there would be concrete actions in resolving the problem of refugee.

19th January

NTT X: The district government has given at least 200 units of settlement houses for beneficiaries consisting of East Timor refugees and locals. The houses are located in Maurisu Village in East Miomafo subdistrict. Secretary of District Administration, Wilhelmus Wollo, symbolically deliver the assistance on Thursday (17 Jan.).

PK: Several traders in Atambua are alleged to have established a network with security personnel to smuggle fuel to East Timor. As a result, Atambua has been facing shortage and increased price of fuel. This was revealed during the fourth plenary session of the District Parliament of Belu on Friday (18 Jan.) in Atambua. One of the legislators, John Aliuk stated that thousands of 20-40 litre jerry cans are used by people to smuggle fuel to East Timor daily.

PK: Refugee leaders of people from Ermera revealed that the refugees residing in Belu District are willing to receive the visit of delegations from Ermera District. Problems that have been hampering the reconciliation process of the two groups of people have been resolved, said District Miltary Commander of Belu, Let. Col, Didi Sudiana yesterday. An incident occurred in December when several refugee' leaders chaired by, Claudio de Jesus accompanied by three district heads from East Timor was rejected by youths in Lolowa camp, when they wanted to visit the camp. 30 delegations from Ermera District, led by the District Administrator, Viktor do Santos, are to visit refugee camps in Belu from 21 to 24 January 2002.

21st January

RT: After facing uncertainty for some months, the Government's Special Taskforce for refugees' Affairs (Satgas PMP) is officially dissolved by the third week of January 2002. Antara reported on Saturday (19 Jan.) from Atambua that almost all of its members had already vacated the office and burned important photos and documents. Chief of the Taskforce, Basyiruddin Yusuf regretted his members' behaviour saying that he had already given instructions to his subordinates not to leave Atambua before his arrival. The taskforce is officially dissolved with the letter issued by Coordinating Ministry office of Political and Security Affairs, Sprint (Instruction Letter) 06/Ses/Polkam/1/2002, dated on 11 January stating about the termination of the taskforce. Satgas PMP involved in handling the East Timor refugees since 6 October 2000 until 27 November 2001. During its time of service, Satgas PMP, managed to facilitate the return of 4.967 families or 17.563 persons.

22nd January

PK: Two officers from the District Military Base of Belu and the Border Security Taskforce are alleged to be involved in the smuggling of fuel to East Timor. Provincial Military Chief, Col. Moeswarno Moesanip told this to the press on Monday (21 Jan.). He added that he had instructed Belu Military Chief to probe into the case. He stated further that subject to approval from District Parliament, he is planning to re-establish several security posts in Belu district in trying to curb the smuggling activities. Concerning Security measures at the border areas in the future, Provincial Military Chief stated that soldiers from Military Base IX Udayana, are to be assigned to secure the border areas replacing the current Military Taskforce and Soldiers from other Military Bases in Indonesia.

RT: Five women from Tuapukan and Noelbaki Camps in Kupang came to hold dialogues with the Deputy of Parliament Speaker, Dr. Nicholas Wolly. These refugees voiced their plight over the current difficulties they are facing with the cessation of aid by the government. They urged the government to hear their plights and find the best solution for refugees. To the refugees, Dr. Nicholas Wolly explained that the decision to stop the assistance was taken by the central government as part of the efforts to resolve the problem of refugees. The government needs affirmation of choices from the refugees whether they want to return home to East Timor or stay in Indonesian territory.

23rd January

PK: (Bajawa). District Head of Ngada, Ir. Albertus Nong Botha hopes that the 27 families ex East Timor refugees be self empowered once residing in the settlement houses in the district. The 27 refugee families are to occupy the settlement houses in Nagerawe village in Boawae subdistrict. The District Head, Ir. Botha stated yesterday during the reception session of the East Timor refugees at District Planning Board Hall in Bajawa. He hoped that refugees would start working on the 1-hectare land provided for each family and to integrate with the host communities. He added that traditional ceremonies are to be held when refugees come in the village marking the willingness of the locals to receive the refugees as members of the community. He appealed to the refugees not to create disturbances.

24th January

PK: Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet. A. Talo stated yesterday that he expected the District Government of Belu to be more proactive in taking preventive actions against the smuggling of fuel to East Timor. It could be in the form of issuing regulations about the distribution of fuel in the district. He also hoped that Pertamina of Kupang (the State-Owned Oil Company) would intensify control measures over the distribution in the districts particularly in Belu. Rampant smugglings of fuel to East Timor have resulted in shortage of fuel in Belu district lately.

PK: Deputy Head of Family Planning Coordination Board Office (BKKBN) of Kupang City, Dra. Esther Muhu stated on Wednesday (23 Jan.) that there are 10.248 families categorized as poor families in Kupang City alone. This data is obtained from the census conducted between the year 2000 to 2001. She added the criteria used for classifying poor families is if the family could not meet any of the indicators such as having meals twice per day, decent clothes, and occupation. Meanwhile, head of BKKBN office of Kupang, Drs. Wilhelmus Lenggu informed that in Kupang District there are at least 68. 598 out of 92.701 families in Kupang district categorized as poor families.

29th January

PK: The bickering between Provincial Military Chief, Col. M. Moesanip, and parliament members of Belu ended after the Military Chief apologized to parliament members in a meeting held in Atambua yesterday. It was also agreed to hold frequent meetings between Military/Police members and District authorities and Parliament for a better coordination to handle problems in the district and to prevent any misunderstanding in the future.

PK: Provincial Police has deployed 20 personnel of Mobile Brigade to West Sumba to beef up the security measures in the district following a tribal clash between villagers of Weemanada in Laura sub-district and Weemanaga in sub-district of Palla on 23 and 24 January 2002. Deputy Police Chief, Snr. Comr, Arthur Damanik told this to the press in Kupang yesterday (28 Jan.).

PK: Some members of UNTAS (Organisation for East Timorese in exile) led by the organisation's secretary general, Filomeno de Jesus Hornay, are planning to establish a new organisation as an umbrella for the struggle of East Timorese in refuge. Deputy for Monitoring and Evaluation, Joao Bosco commented that the plan to establish a new organisation is a result of the friction within the organisation and this has obviously disturbed the organisation's mission to struggle for the refugees' better fate in refuge. He added that he had tried to facilitate talks between the two groups, the one led by Head of UNTAS, Domingos Soares and the other led by the Secretary General, Filomeno de Jesus Hornay, through a congress but the idea did not win support from both groups.

PK: Some refugee leaders from several camps in West Timor came to the Provincial Parliament to hold talks with the Deputy Speaker, Dr. Nicolas. Wolly, S.Th, about the government's recent decision to stop the assistance to the refugees. Joaka Mujiono Lay, a refugee leader, revealed how the refugees had gone through all the suffering from living in camps and this was worsened by the discontinuation of assistance. These refugee leaders urged the Military and Government to be responsible for their worsening situation. To the refugees, Nico Wolly stated that the decision to stop the assistance was made by the Central Government in its trying to solve the problem of refugee due to its limited resources and fund to support the living of thousands of refugees in West Timor. He advised the refugees to repatriate home to East Timor or join in the government's settlement and transmigration programmes to end the suffering of living in camps.

PK: Based on data collection in the year 2001 on the nutritional condition of children under five years old in areas hosting the refugees, district of Belu ranked the worst among the four districts in West Timor, as confirmed by Maxy. M. Taopan, head of Health Problem Handling Section of Health Office of Kupang on Saturday (26 Jan). He enumerated several factors contributing to this situation such as limited availability of medicines and medical utilities or low standard of medical service provided in the district. He informed further that 75 out of 4, 549 children under five years old in Belu were treated of Diarrhoea recently. This is the biggest number of children treated of diarrhoea in the four districts.

NTT X: Udayana Military Chief, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa stated yesterday in Kupang that only tank trucks of Pertamina (State-owned oil company) that are allowed to carry fuels across the border, others would be considered illegal. He confirmed that this is an official regulation issued by Head of Pertamina Surabaya, Denpasar and Kupang. Udayana Military Chief, Maj. Gen, da Costa came to Kupang to attend meeting with Provincial Authorities to agree on mechanisms and official checkpoints of fuel trading to East Timor as an effort to curb the rampant smuggling of fuel to East Timor.


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