|Subject: East Timor press headlines/ 26 Feb
1. PKF Militias Exchange Fire At Border (Timor Post, Front Page headline)
The Peace-Keeping Forces of the United Nations was involved in gunfire exchange with two militia members on Friday. The exchange took place six kilometers west of Balibo, near the Indonesian border with West Timor.
There were no casualties on both sides.
The PKF press release said the incident could be related to the first year anniversary of the handover of security in Timor Lorosae from Interfet to the PKF.
This was the second incident in the area, after three militia members recently crossed the border and entered Timor Lorosae territory.
On Friday night PKF members from the Australian Battalion encountered two militia members at the border area in Balibo. One of them was confirmed carrying a rifle. The armed militia man then aimed his weapon to shoot.
The PKF members, on seeing this action, starting firing in the direction of the militias. The two militias then fled their location.
A sweep operation was then conducted, in the area, using two light reconnaissance helicopters and more PKF personnel.
2. UNTAET Indonesia To Set Up Ad Hoc Committee To Try Human Rights Cases (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)
UNTAET and the government of Indonesia will set up an ad hoc committee to try human rights cases. This was revealed by the Indonesian Legislative Assembly Speaker Amien Rias to the press last Friday.
At the moment there are 22 people held by UNTAET.
“The 22 names have been submitted to the [Indonesian] Attorney-General,” said Amien Rais at the Assembly Hall in Senayan, Jakarta.
But, said Rais, he was not sure when the ad hoc committee will be formed.
“Please give Indonesia a chance to try those human rights violators. If we really can’t do that, then let’s use international justice,” said Rais.
He said, UNTAET in principle agreed to the idea.
“They [UNTAET] cautiously said the human rights perpetrators should be tried under the Indonesian legal system. If it fails, then international law will intervene,” reiterated Rais.
3. To Face The Elections, Fretilin Restructures (Timor Post, Front Page top-box story)
Political parties are beginning to organize themselves in the current heated political climate. Fretilin is in the process of organizing its Congress, and has already begun restructuring its organization from the central body right till the grassroots.
At the Dili suburb of Mascarenhas, over the weekend, Fretilin held a management and motivation seminar to discuss its reorganization plans.
A member of Fretilin’s Presidential Council, Gregorio de Sousa, told the Timor Post that the party’s restructuring was an internal issue and was not meant to capture votes.
“Fretilin must ready itself because the period for the election is not far off and campaigning will be short,” said Gregorio.
4. Bishop Belo: Political Parties Must Not Only Think Of Themselves (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page Headline)
At this moment there are 13 political parties taking part in the 30 August 2001 election. But the political parties have yet to come out with their own programs.
Dili Bishop, Don Carlos Ximenes Filipe Belo said this yesterday when he opened the Renetil Congress in a Dili suburb.
“I see that that the leaders of all the political parties are smart people. But I have yet to see their party’s constitution or program of action. If they can’t even do these things, how can they lead the people?” asked Bishop Belo.
Because of this, Bishop Belo urged all political parties in the country to come together to work a plan of action for five years for national unity and stability.
5. Land Dispute in Uato Lari Settled (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page top-box)
The long-drawn land dispute in Uato Lari sub-district in Viqueque involving prime paddy land was solved peacefully yesterday. The dispute involved Henrique de Carvalho, the Chefi Suco of Afaloikai and Mateus Amaral also from Afaloikai.
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding at the Uato Lari Church.
Arbitration in the land dispute was carried out by the Uato Lari Mediation Team and CNRT. On the other hand, the Land and Property section of UNTAET, together with CivPol and Yayasan Hak were observers.
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