Subject: Settlers Departing
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 12:15:29 +0000
From: "East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign" <email@example.com> Organization: ETISC
Comment from TAPOL. This is the first I have heard about this mass exhodus. Hugh O'Shaughnessy who left East Timor earlier this week told me that he had seen crowds of people at the harbour but heard nothing form his Timorese contacts about Indonesians leaving. If Kompas reports are accurate, this would appear to reflect the other side of the growing optimism among Timorese.
Kompas, 11th July 1998 Exodus Continues: 1,000 people return to South Sulawesi 50,000 have left via Atambua Summary Only
According to Kompas, Indonesians- pendatang- are leaving East Timor in droves by sea and land because they feel unsafe. The paper claims that anti-integration elements have been threatening the Indonesian migrants.
Several Indonesian told the paper that they had been queuing up since last week for tickets at the Pelni shipping company. ' People are ruching to leave because they don't feel safe. Everyday East Timorese come to the market and shout " When are you going back to Sulawesi?", and at night they come and throw things at our homes.'
The Indonesians also say that rumours have been circulationg that massa actions will take place from 14-17 July, that Xanana Gusmao is going to be released on July 14th and will go straight to East Timor to declare its independence. According to other rumours, Un envoy Jamsheed Marker will be coming to Dili and anti-integration crowds will assemble in Dili in huge numbers on 17th July, the anniversary of 'integrastion day'.
One Indonesian is quoted as saying that rumours of a referendum being held are widespread which is taken as meaning that there will be no more place for Indonesians. Under these circumstances, they feel the quicker they they get out, the better, even if it means leaving all their belongings behind.
Many have managed to deposit their stocks in Atambua, with the result that supplies of basic essentials are very low and prices have soared.
According to data collected by Kompas at the Tasitolu bus terminal in Dili, up to 50,000 people left for Atambua since 15th June. Many have travelled by bus, truck or private cars. The Pelini shippinmg company said that 15,000 Indonesians left the territory during June.
Some sources claim that if conditions in East timor do not improve, all the Indonesians will have left by the end of this month. (!!)
Udayna military commander Maj. Gen Damiri has calle don Indonesians in East timor not ot panic but to continue woith their normal activities.
'We have had meetings with people like Manuel Carrascalao who are opposed to integration and they have expressed a willingness to hold dialogue with those in favour of integration. The dialogue will be sponsored by Bishop Belo, ' Damiri said.