Subject: SCMP: Militias demand partition

South China Morning Post Thursday, August 17, 2000

EAST TIMOR

Militias demand partition

JOANNA JOLLY in Kupang, West Timor

Pro-Indonesian militia and political leaders in West Timor are demanding East Timor be partitioned to accommodate 130,000 refugees still living in camps in Indonesian West Timor.

The call comes one day after Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said Jakarta would dismantle refugee camps within six months by either repatriation or relocation to other parts of Indonesia.

About 260,000 East Timorese fled to West Timor amid the carnage that followed the referendum for independence last August.

About 170,000 have returned. Many of those who remain have links with the former Indonesian regime and militia groups and fear reprisals if they return.

To deal with the refugee problem, pro-Indonesian leaders are demanding that a line be drawn in East Timor from Liquicia in the north to Suai in the south, with refugees moved into the area west of this line.

They say it is the best way to deal with the problem of refugee camps, especially next to the border, which have become bases for armed-militia attacks on East Timor in recent weeks in which two UN peacekeepers have been killed.

"If you tried to bring us back to East Timor now, we could go. But there will be conflict after that," said Filomeno Hornay, secretary-general of the pro-Indonesian umbrella organisation UNTAS.

"It will be like a bomb, which is why we don't want to go right now to mix with East Timorese. It is better to have a clear line between pro-independence groups and pro-Indonesian groups."


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