Subject: JP: Authorities hunting down East Timorese intruders

Also: RI invites UN Civpol to cooperate in curbing illegal border crossing

Authorities hunting down East Timorese intruders

Jakarta Post December 9, 2002

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Security personnel in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), said on Sunday that they were chasing after East Timorese nationals who had allegedly entered the province after the bloody riot in Dili, East Timor, last Thursday.

"Our intelligence service is continuing to hunt East Timorese who reportedly sneaked into Belu and blended in with refugees here," Belu military chief Lt. Col. Tjuk Agus Minahasa said on Sunday.

Belu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agus Nugroho said that his intelligence officers were working hard to detect the whereabouts of the intruders.

"We received information that several East Timorese entered illegally and merged in with the refugees. We have yet to find them and the refugees are giving us no help," Agus was quoted by Antara as saying.

Agus said that the East Timorese refugees in Belu were not extending any help to the authorities, making it difficult for the police and military (TNI) to arrest them.

Neither Tjuk nor Agus would give an estimate as to how many East Timorese nationals entered Indonesia or when, saying only that they slipped into Belu after the riot in Dili on Thursday.

Dili, the capital city of newly-independent East Timor, was rocked by a riot and looting on Thursday after police there shot dead a student protester.

East Timor foreign minister Ramos Horta blamed the riot, the first since Indonesia left the territory in 1999, on former pro-Indonesia militia members.

Tjuk Agus said that his office and local police had formed a joint team to monitor and hunt down any East Timorese nationals who had intruded into Belu regency.

"It is hard to detect the intruders if the refugees do not help the security forces," Tjuk Agus said.

He added that it was possible for those involved in the Dili riot to intrude into NTT due to the absence of checkpoints in border areas as well as the difficult topographic situation.

According to Tjuk Agus, the border between Indonesia and East Timor was prone to intrusion.

He cited as an example the illegal entry of East Timorese prisoners who broke out of the Becora Jail in Dili on Aug. 16.

Some of the East Timorese prisoners were later detected living in refugee camps in Belu and were unwilling to return to East Timor, Tjuk Agus said.

He did not explain why his men or the police had not apprehended these East Timorese, who had clearly violated the country's immigration laws.

Earlier, NTT Police chief Brig. Gen. Jacky Uly ordered police in Belu regency to step up security in areas bordering East Timor to prevent intrusions by East Timorese following the Dili riot on Dec. 4.

"I have instructed the Belu Police chief to tighten security in border areas to prevent East Timorese from intruding into our territory," Uly said on Friday.

He made the statement when asked to confirm reports that seven intruders from East Timor were arrested early on Dec. 5.

"Belu police are now questioning them. I myself do not know whether the intrusions are linked to the Dec. 4 riots," he said.

The intruders, who had got as far as Kupang, the provincial capital, crossed the border near the town of Silawan, Tasifeto Timur, Belu regency.

They came from Aidaba Teten village, Atabae subdistrict, Bobonaro, in East Timor.


The Jakarta Post [online]

December 11, 2002

RI invites UN Civpol to cooperate in curbing illegal border crossing

ATAMBUA, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): Police in the province of East Nusa Tenggara have invited the UN Civilian Police (Civpol) in East Timor to cooperate in curbing illegal border crossings, which have lately been on the rise following unrest in the newly independent state.

"I communicated the call for cooperation to the Civpol representative, who visited the Belu district Police Headquarters last Monday," district police chief, Adj. High Comr. Agus Nugroho told Antara here on Wednesday, adding that the call for cooperation would also be submitted to the meeting of the Tactical Coordination Working Group (TCWG) in Maliana, Bobonaro, East Timor, slated to be held later in the day.

The TCWG meeting is a routine one for coordination between the task force of the Indonesian Military (TNI) for the security of the East Nusa Tenggara-East Timor border and the UN peacekeeping force, which involves the Indonesian Police, UN Civpol and other related agencies.

"The meeting is an opportunity to discuss steps in anticipation of the second exodus of the East Timorese due to an internal conflict," Agus said


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