Subject: AFP: Timor border closed ahead of refugee registration

West Timor border closed ahead of E Timor refugee registration

JAKARTA, June 1 (AFP) - The border between Indonesian-ruled West Timor and East Timor will be closed for two days this month for the registration of some 100,000 East Timorese refugees in West Timor, a report said Friday.

The border would be closed from June 5 to 7, the state Antara news agency quoted West Timor Security Task Force Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Magna Candra, as saying Thursday in the border town of Atambua.

"People will not be allowed to cross the border even if they have official documents," Antara quoted Candra as saying without further elaboration.

For the June 6 registration, the Indonesian government has set up 507 registration stations across East Nusa Tenggara province which includes West Timor, to find out how many of the refugees want to return home, and how many want to remain in Indonesia.

The refugees are the last of an estimated 250,000 who were forced across the border by pro-Jakarta militias during an orgy of violence and destruction wreaked in the wake of East Timor's vote for independence on August 30 in 1999.

Some 1,600 registration officials and 80 field supervisors have been fielded for the June 6 registration.

The United Nations and other foreign agencies estimate the number of refugees, most of whom are living in squalid camps, at between 50,000 and 100,000.

They are eager to repatriate the refugees ahead of a June 20 deadline to register for elections in East Timor, which is currently under a transitional UN administration.

Candra added that the border closure decision was made to "promote the success of the registration."

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