Subject: AN: ET Refugees Wishing to Go Home

Antara - The Indonesian National News Agency

November 25, 2002


Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Nov 25 (ANTARA) - More and more East Timorese refugees in the camps in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara, expressed their wish to return to their homeland of East Timor especially now on the occasion of Christmas and New Year.

Coordinator of Disaster and Refugee Afffairs for Belu regency Lt Col Tjuk Agus Minahasa confirmed this new tendency of the East Timorese refugees, in Atambua, Beli on Monday.

He said that the number of those taking part in the repatriation program and the Christmas and New Year Rp 1.5 million bonus for each family, or Rp 300,000 per person for families of less than five persons, has reached 86 families comprising 315 people today (Nov 25).

Most of the refugees wishing to return to their homeland came from the regencies of Bobonaro, Dili, Liquisa and Ermera, and partly from Ailiu, Manufahi and Lospalos.

They have been staying at their refugee camps in Belu for more than three years, with the biggest one in Atambua, capital of Belu regency.

The Belu repatriation organizing committee has made available more than Rp75 million from November 4 to 25, including early retirement funds and lump sums for former East Timorese civil servants and police personnel, participants of the repatriation scheme.

Thus, to facilitate the repatriation of thousands of refugees up to December 31, 2002, at least Rp 300 million would be needed.

"I believe that the mass repatriation will take place starting the second week of December 2002 close to Christmas and New Year, during which people wish to get together with their families and relatives to celebrate the festivities," he said.

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