Subject: AN: Shooting may speed up border supervision



September 25, 2003 9:34pm Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Sept 24 (ANTARA) - The shooting incident on the Tactical Coordination Line (TCL) on Sept. 19 may speed up the setting of border areas shared by Indonesia and East Timor, a local legislator has said.

"The incident is expected to set the border regions shared by Indonesia and East Timor soon to seek certainty in supervising the border areas," Deputy Chairman of the Belu district legislative council Charles Bria said here Wednesday.

Charles made the remark in commenting on the shooting at an Indonesian citizen of East Timorese descent, Vegas Biliatu, by East Timorese policeman Agustini Barros in the TCL between Turiskain and Tonobibi areas.

Turiskain is an area belonging to Raihat subdistrict, Belu district, Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province, and Tonobibi is an area situated in East Timor's district of Bobonaro.

The legislator of the Golkar Party opined that the incident occurred among others due to the long delay in setting the border line shared by Indonesia and East Timor.

Meanwhile, according to Chief of the East Nusa Tenggara police Brig Gen Adward Aritonang on Wednesday, Vegas was shot dead as he attacked a member of an East Timorese police border patrol.

"The victim was warned not to trespass East Timorese territory up to 100 meters from the state boundary, but he aimed his arrows at the police patrol," Aritonang said.

In the attack, the East Timorese policeman shot Vegas in the back and the bullet went out his chest. He died on the spot.

The victim was taken to a Dili hospital for an autopsy before sent to his family in Turiskain, Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara, and buried on Tuesday (Sept 23).

According to Charles, social problems frequently occurred in certain locations since the borderline between the two countries has not been clearly delineated.

"A state boundary is of great importance as it concerns different issues occurring on the border shared by Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province and East Timor like the shooting incident on the TCL last Friday," he said.

Based on the result of the study on the border areas conducted by Indonesia's National Coordinating Agency for Survey and Mapping (Bakosurtanal), only few locations are difficult to be set as border areas while many others are already clear (as border areas), he said.

Charles pointed out that the location between Turiskain and Tonobibi is already clear according to the Bakosurtanal's survey, but it is not yet set as a border area because it was still referred to the tactical line agreed on by the Indonesian military/police and the East Timorese security authorities.

The issue had been discussed at a coordination meeting on rural border areas and the Indonesia-East Timor state boundary in Belu, which was held in West Java province's town of Bogor in March, 2003.

It was reported that the discussion on the issue has not been completed, he said.




September 25, 2003 9:33pm Antara

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara, Sept 23 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian police have urged their East Timorese counterpart in a letter to thoroughly investigate the shooting of an Indonesian, Vegas Biliatu, in a border area over the weekend.

"Based on the international rulings, we have sent a letter to the East Timorese police urging them to thouroughly investigate the shooting case as the victim is now still in their hands," chief of the East Nusa Tenggara provincial police Brig Gen Edward Aritonang said here Tuesday.

Biliatu, an Indonesian citizen of East Timorese descent, was strongly believed to be shot by the East Timorese police's border patrol unit in the Malibaca river basin area last Friday (Sept 19, 2003).

The Malibaca river basin area belongs to the Tactical Coordination Line (TCL) which is a neutral zone shared by the two countries because the river serves as a water resource for the two peoples who live in the border area.

Based on reports from chief of the Belu district police Senior Adjunct Commissioner Agus Nugroho, Aritonang said the site of the incident belongs to East Timor's jurisdiction.

"We would however remain to ask for explanation from the East Timorese police on the shooting case. Does the law prevailing in that country deals with the shooting of any border crosser?" Aritonang said.

Aritonang said the Indonesian police had asked the Indonesian interest section in Dili (East Timor's capital) to keep abreast of the shooting case as the dead victim is still under the East Timorese police's supervision and protection.

"We ask for the help of the Indonesian interest section to constantly monitor the case as the autopsy on Vegas Biliatu (the victim) will be conducted there (in East Timor)," he said.

Aritonang said the shooting of the Indonesian citizen who lives in Turiskain village, Raihat subdistrict, Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara province, could not be considered as a trivial thing.

Meanwhile, the East Timorese police explained that Vegas Biliatu who crossed to East Timor through the Malibaca river basin area carried a bow and three arrows.

Vegas Biliatu was reported to have shot arrows at thee East Timorese policemen on the border shared by Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province and the newly-born country but failed to hit the targets.

In an effort to avoid unexpected things, the East Timorese police shot at the back through the chest of Vegas who died on the spot.

Aritonang said the incident occurred in East Timor's jurisdiction but the Indonesian police considered important to ask regulations prevailing in the nascent state, especially on border crossers.

He also urged the East Timorese police to take neutral and serious measures in dealing with the shooting case thoroughly.

Aritonang also called on the East Timorese police to investigate the case professionally and sentence persons who are found guilty in the shooting case.

The Indonesian and East Timorese governments had reached agreement at a meeting in Dili on September 4-6, 2003, on five development sectors including that on the border areas.

To that effect, working groups dealing with different issues would be set up.

On the working group on border areas, the two countries agreed on the introduction of passes for border crossing for traditional purposes like shopping at markets in Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara.

The working group on border issues was expected to hold a follow-up meeting on the introduction of a border pass in October or before December 11, 2003.


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