Subject: SCMP: 'Indon re-populating up to 300,000 E.Timorese'
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 23:53:29 EDT

also: More than 1,000 people killed in the past three days -report

South China Morning Post Wednesday, September 8, 1999


Indonesia 'plans mass re-population with pro-Jakarta civilians'


Indonesia is planning to deport up to 300,000 East Timorese and re-populate the territory with opponents of independence, a resistance leader said yesterday.

Joao Carrascalao, head of the National Council for Timorese Resistance in Australia, said he had received reports that 20,000 to 30,000 people, mostly from Java, were already at the West Timor border with five Indonesian army generals.

"They are going to put people from other parts of Indonesia into East Timor to re-populate it," he said.

A UN spokesman said between one-quarter and one-third of East Timor's population was to be moved out.

"We are being informed that in the case of the evacuations it is a premeditated scenario where authorities said that they expected to evacuate 200,000 to 300,000 refugees," UN spokesman Brian Kelly said from Dili.

Truckloads of refugees are being taken from Dili at gunpoint and sent to Kupang and Atambua in West Timor, Mr Carrascalao said.

Mr Carrascalao said he had received reports that women and children had reached Atambua, but not men.

"They are all being separated," he said. "We don't know where the men are, but they did not get there."

But an Australian doctor in Dili, Dr Kevin Baker, said: "A lot of young males, thankfully, have headed into the hills, which is an incredibly brave thing to do . . . Hopefully they made it."

Dr Baker also told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio the East Timorese would be forced to sign documents supporting autonomy with Indonesia before they were removed to a remote district of the city.

"The plan we have heard is they are going to clear Dili and at some stage they are going to re-populate it with non-East Timorese," Dr Baker told ABC from a disused former UN compound in Dili, which he said the Indonesian military was about to take over.

John Miller, from the US East Timor Action Network, who was evacuated to Darwin yesterday, said Indonesia might also be moving people to create an argument for partition.

"They're going to argue that all these people that they're moving - and it's very much a forced move - are going voluntarily to West Timor because they're afraid that in an independent East Timor they'll be killed or have no future," he said.

"But the first reports I heard of people being moved were from pro-independence neighbourhoods in Dili."

Mr Carrascalao said the pro-Jakarta militia and the Indonesian military, operating under martial law, could move out 300,000 people within a couple of days.

"If the international community continues to turn a blind eye, they will do it for sure," he said.


South China Morning Post Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Martial law, curfew in Timor


East Timorese were living under martial law and a curfew last night as pressure mounted on Indonesia to end the terror that has killed hundreds and forced thousands to flee.

Separatist leader Xanana Gusmao, freed yesterday from house arrest after serving seven years of a 20-year sentence, appealed to the militias to halt their killings. "You are allowing the genocide of our people," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer gave Indonesian President Bacharuddin Habibie an effective 48-hour deadline to end the bloodshed.

Mr Annan said the world would have to consider other means to keep order if martial law did not succeed.

Foreign ministers from the US, Britain and Asia-Pacific states will meet today in New Zealand to consider how to contain the crisis.

The UN, organiser of last week's vote for independence, and the Red Cross said more than 40,000 East Timorese had fled to West Timor. Human rights organisations said 200,000 East Timorese were now displaced.

A Timorese resistance source in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, claimed more than 1,000 people had been killed in the past three days.

The decision to put the Indonesian army in charge came despite repeated reports that it has been orchestrating the violence.

Armed forces commander General Wiranto called martial law a "concrete step to restore security and order in East Timor".

Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who has no direct control over the military, said security forces would shoot curfew breakers on sight.

Ian Martin, the head of the beleaguered UN Mission in East Timor (Unamet) said he was determined to remain in the province, despite lost communications and continuous gunfire outside.

He placed some hope in the announcement of martial law, saying a new general was being sent to take command.

"It has given us a little more confidence in our own security," Mr Martin said.

"I think it is probably a positive development, bringing in troops that are not part of the collusion of the past few days."

However, 138 Timorese and international staff were evacuated from the UN compound in East Timor's second city, Baucau. Their compound came under attack first from the militia and then from the military and police.

Witnesses said soldiers and pro-Jakarta militiamen were continuing to force East Timorese on to trucks and planes at gunpoint.

Herminio da Silva da Costa, a commander of one of the militias responsible for the terror, warned that his men were ready to "burn everything" if the independence vote was not held again.

"We have to work together, but if that can't be done and the international community does not review the [vote] process, we are ready to destroy everything. We'll burn everything," he said.

One witness said there was a 4km queue of 60,000 people at police headquarters in Dili seeking transport out. The central shopping district had been burned down.

"The militia are out on the streets and the police and military are waving and smiling at them," said a UN official.

The exiled East Timorese resistance said Jakarta was implementing a prepared plan to drive 300,000 people out of East Timor.

"They are going to put people from other parts of Indonesia into East Timor to repopulate it," said Joao Carrascalao, head of the National Council for Timorese Resistance in Australia.

Mr Gusmao, who had planned to return to East Timor today, was staying in the British Embassy in Jakarta. Indonesia's Justice Minister, Muladi, said Mr Gusmao's ultimate destination was now up to him and the UN.

"I promise as a free man I will do everything to bring peace to East Timor and its people," said Mr Gusmao.

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