Subject: WT Press Summaries 181001 - 021101

Please find attached, and below as text, summaries of the West Timorese press from the last week and before. Thanks Charmain

West Timor Press Summaries 18th October ? 2nd November 2001 NTT X ? NTT Eks pres; PK ? Pos Kupang; ST ? Surya Timor; RT ? Radar Timor; SP ? Sasando Pos

Thursday, 18 October 2001

NTT X: "This return is made because I pay respect to the voice of the people who voted for independence in the last ballot as God's voice. I promise once I step my feet on Timor Lorosae soil, I would be loyal and submit to the people of Timor Lorosae." This statement was declared by Nemecio Lopez de Carvalho yesterday before crossing the bridge of Metamasin marking the return of 366 refugees back to East Timor. Nemecio was known as Deputy Commander of Sector C of Pro-Integration Fighters and Mahidi Militia. Present at the border to witness the return were Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet. A. Talo, Speaker of Provincial Legislative Assembly, Police Chief, Brig. Gen, Jacky Uly, Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa and Head of Prosecutors' office of Kupang, Abdul Muis Gassing. From East Timor authority side, Xanana Gusmao, Vice Bishop of Dili Diocese, Jose Antonio da Costa, SVD, Military Commander, Brig. Gen Taur Matan Ruak, Timor Lorosae Police Chief, Brig. Gen, Paulo Maia, UNTAET Chief of Staff, N. Parameswaran and a number of top officials of East Timor Government. Nemecio brushed aside the prejudice against his return saying that he had decided to quit the struggle against the independence and would be committed to the development of East Timor.

NTT X: UNTAET would conduct a quick process for those who were found guilty breaching the law after the election in 1999 in East Timor. N. Parameswaran, Chief of Staff of UNTAET stated that UNTAET has its own system to handle human rights perpetrators of incidents after the election in 1999. This information has been disseminated at camps in West Timor. He added that it would be better for the refugees to return home to settle matters quickly since in many cases those who faced the accusations were not found guilty. He stated further that the people of East Timor are actually willing to welcome their brothers home.

RT: Police Chief of Timor Lorosae, Brig. Gen. Paulo Maia, stated to Police Chief of East Nusa Tenggara, Brig. Gen, Jacky Uly of his intention to recruit the former East Timor Police memebrs to become the Police members of Timor Lorosae. A meeting would be held today at Metamasin to discuss this with former Police members and Police Chief of East Nusa Tenggara had instructed the Police Chief of Belu to invite the former East Timor Police members to be present in the meeting. There would be around 300 former police members to attend the meeting.

Friday, 19 October 2001

PK: The profit from exporting goods to Timor Leste has reached US$18 million as of September 2001. Aside from that, the profit gained from the trading of fuels has reached to US$16.5 million. Head of Customs Office of Kupang, K.M Rotinsulu to Pos Kupang in his office on Thursday (18/10). The exports were done through two checkpoints; Mota'ain and Napan. The export to Timor Leste has increased dramatically since 1999, he added.

PK: Commander (Kupang) A replacement of troops was done at the border recently. 621 Manuntung Battalion from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, replaced 131 Brajasakti battalion, a North Sumatera based battalion. Indonesian Military (TNI) would also appraise the possibility of reducing the number of troops stationed at the border. Udayana Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa told the journalists on Thursday (18/10) adding that the replacement of troops was necessary since the first battalion had been stationed at the border for quite long (1 year).

NTT X: Commander (Kupang). Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa was quoted as saying in the sidelines of welcoming the newly assigned battalion at the border on Thursday at Kupang Seaport that since holding the post as military commander he had identified intentions of the militia to make West Timor areas as the basis for their struggle against East Timor's independence. To achieve their goal, they have intimidated the refugees residing at camps preventing them from returning to East Timor. Commander da Costa instructed the newly assigned battalion to watch over the border areas closely to prevent any militia group to use as its base.

NTT X: In a press release from the Information and Communication Department of North Central Timor regency (TTU) dated Tuesday (16/10), it was stated that the Deputy Regent of TTU, Gabrial Manek chaired a coordination meeting in Kefa as a follow up of demands made by East Timor Refugees' Aid Supervision Coordinator Forum. Several points discussed in the meeting include resettlement, farming lands, side dish money and refurbishment of damaged camps, education, and health problems faced by refugees.

RT: Organisation for East Timor refugees in West Timor, UNTAS, urged the National Human Rights Commission to send an investigation team to West Timor to probe into repressive measures taken by Military members towards refugees at camps in Betun and SoE. This was stated in a press release of UNTAS received by Radar Timor.

RT: Head of Mediating Committee of NTT-Timor Lorosae border-related affairs, Johanis Pake Pani stated that there will be a meeting held in Denpasar next month between Indonesian Government and Timor Lorosae to discuss matters related to border areas including the trading and the coming in and out of people from both territories. There is yet official agreement regarding activities related to the border areas between the two authorities. The Committee has established three commissions to discuss the problems related to border activities and the development of areas around the border.

Friday, 26 October 2001

PK: Hundreds of Military and Police members have been searching 1sr Brig. LI in the forest since Wednesday morning (24/10). 1st Brig. LI fled into the forest after shooting 2nd Brig. Rohadi on Tuesday (23/10). However, until Thursday afternoon, LI is yet to be found. Sweepings into forests in North Central Timor regency will be conducted and some streets would be blocked as also the passing of vehicles would be screened, said Commander of Military Taskforce at the border, Col. Magna Chandra. He added that he had requested for reinforcement from 1605 Military Command and Police to help the search.

PK: Wirasakti Commander, Col. Moesanip has instructed his members at the border to stop issuing travel permits to East Timor since it had been creating worries for the people who travel to the new country. He instructed his members to jot down the name and passport number of the people without having to issue travel permits. Col. Moesanip stated that the habit of issuing travel permit was inherited from previous times when the situation was still unstable. Col Moesanip, added that as the commander of Wirasakti Command overseeing the military in the province, he could order to stop the practice of issuing such permit since it was not an official instruction from Regional Military Command to issue such permits.

PK: Political leader of Timor Lorosae, Xanana Gusmao was confirmed to meet with refugee leaders from Bobonaro, Aileu and Mantuto in Batugade, East Timor on November 5th. One of the refugee leaders, Belarmino Neves stated this in Atambua yesterday adding that an intensive preparation is now being made for the meeting. He has been coordinating with Father Hubertus Thomas Hasulie, SVD, an activist that has been actively promoting reconciliation for the people of East Timor.

PK: Responding to the statement made by Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Jacob Nuwa Wea about Central Government's doubt on existing refugee numbers, Vice Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Johanis Pake Pani said that the provincial government does not have the intention to manipulate the refugee number since the figure was obtained from the recent registration. He added that the sudden upsurge number of refugees was because many of the registrants had heard that the government would provide assistance for those who took part in the registrations. Many East Timor refugees have come from outside the province to participate in the registration.

NTT X: A reconciliation meeting was held yesterday between the people of Ermera and those who are seeking refuge in West Timor. There were at least 90 refugee leaders and 77 community leaders of the People of Ermera present at the meeting at Mota'ain post located about 45 km north of Atambua. The meeting was opened with a traditional ceremony marking the reunion of the people of Ermera after being separated for some time. The refugees conveyed their requests to the people of Ermera in East Timor should the refugees decide to return. The requests include their security warranty, ownership of assets, and the pledge to uphold peace.

RT: Some refugees residing in Kupang went to the office of Provincial Manpower and Transmigration in Kupang to meet with the visiting Minister, Jacob Nuwa Wea. Ten refugees who claimed to represent 108 families/519 persons were allowed to meet with the minister. They urged the government to start the resettlement program immediately. To the refugees, Minister Jacob Nuwa Wea explained that the Central Government had decided to offer three alternatives to the refugees to help resolve the problems; first, repatriation, second; to join the transmigration program to other areas in Indonesia, and third, for those who chose to stay in the province, a grant would be given to help them earn their own living.

Saturday, 27 October 2001

PK: Minister of People's Welfare, Jusuf Kalla requested the people of East Timor taking refuge in West Timor to forget the past to resolve the current ongoing problems. As long as the past is not forgotten, the problems would persist and would never be resolved. This was revealed during a dialogue at Kristal Hotel on Friday night (26/10) in Kupang. Attending the dialogue were Provincial Government officials, non-governmental organization members, and community leaders. Minister of Religion, Prof Aqil Husein Almunawar also attended the dialogue. Minister Jusuf Kalla asked the refugees to understand the situation that East Nusa Tenggara province is now facing, such as poverty, and having to take care of the refugees makes things more difficult for the province. Refugees are requested to either follow repatriation or resettlement program.

PK: Allegedly provoked by a member of UNTAS to stage a demonstration, a number of refugees came to El tari airport to welcome the arrival of the Minister of People's Welfare, Jusuf Kalla in Kupang. The demonstration failed to materialize after the refugees realized the particular member of UNTAS was not present with them in the planned demonstration. Knowing the plan of the demonstration, Udayana Regional Military, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa came to the airport and held talks with the refugees. The refugees informed that they had been provoked by a member of UNTAS to stage demonstration upon the arrival of Minister, Jusuf Kalla's entourage at the airport. Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa requested the refugees to return home and not to be easily provoked by any party since it would be the refugees' themselves who would face the consequences.

NTT X: A number of Liurai (chieftain) from East Timor are to visit West Timor in the near future. Chief of 161 Wirasakti Military Command, Col. Moeswarno Moesanip told the press on Thursday (25/10) that the visit made by chieftains aims to meet refugees in West Timor and will be facilitated by UNHCR and UNTAET. The plan has been coordinated with Military, added Col. Moesanip. Commander, Moesanip was positive that the reconciliation meeting would be a success. As it was planned, there will be a repatriation process for at least 1,000 refugees at the border today and it will be witnessed by Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Susilo Bambang Yudhonono, Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare, Jusuf Kala, Udayana Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa, and Provincial Government authorities including Governor, Piet A. Talo. Meanwhile in Belu, the Military and Police have reportedly taken measures to anticipate the planned demonstration by refugees to welcome the Ministers in the regency. The city of Atambua was quiet on Friday (26/10) since rumors of the huge demonstration by refugees had spread around.

Monday, 29 October 2001

PK: As of Saturday (27/10), Tremors are still felt throughout West Miomafo subdistrict of North Central Timor regency after an earthquake struck the regency on Friday (19/10) killing two people and damaged a number of houses in various villages in the regency. People are still in fear of the earthquake and have yet to return. The visit made by journalists on Saturday (27/10) confirmed that the strongest shake was felt in Tasinifu village in West Miomafo. This was concurred by district government officials including vice regent, Gabriel Manek who made a visit to the particular village on Friday (26/10) and experienced the tremor in the visited village. Two villagers of Noelolo village reportedly died on the first day of the earthquake which occurred on Friday (19/10). Several houses were damaged in Nakeke and Tasinifu villages. Villagers are still living in tents in fear of continuing tremors. Reports of the impact of tremors are still coming from other villages such as Kaekeke, Tasinifu, Oelolo and Noetoko where houses were also damaged. District Government is still taking down reports from villages of the destruction and victims. It has also appealed for central government to send earthquake experts to study the tremors in the regency.

NTT X: Central Government would support the repatriation program of refugees, while technical matters would be handled by Governor of East Nusa Tenggara and Regional Military Commander. This was stated by Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, Jusuf Kalla before returning to Jakarta on Saturday (28/10). He stated further that the return of refugees is expected to complete in six months but will all depend on the Governor and Regional Military Commander. He admitted of the protests against the highly promoted repatriation process and the decision to halt the aid from the government but none has offered suggestions to resolve the problem. He contended that no refugees would stay for more than two years in any country, which would be vulnerable to conflict with locals. Although the government decided to halt the aid by the end of this year, the returning refugees would be given a final aid of Rp.500.000 and rice aid for each family.

PK: Two members of 502 Air Force Batallion, 2nd Corp, Dominggus Parera and 1st Brig, M.T. Q Duwila were sentenced three years in prison and dismantled from the corps over smuggling of cigarettes to East Timor. Military Court of Kupang reached its verdict on Tuesday (23/10) here in Kupang.

RT: Reconciliation team of refugees from Ainaro joined in a Forum called "Soru Mutuk Badame" handed over reconciliation result papers to Government of Timor Lorosae and Indonesia as refernce for any party intending to resolve the East Timor refugee problems. The papers were handed over to both authorities during the repatriation process last week at the border.

Tuesday, 30 October 2001

PK: Victims of the earthquake in West and East Miomafo subdistricts, North Central Timor regency regret the attitudes of district legislators who have yet to visit the location where the earthquake. The legislators were considered ignorant of the suffering that people felt after the earthquake hit the regency killing two people and damaging houses in the villages. Speaking to the journalists at District Parliament House in Kefa yesterday, Stanislaus Obe, Village head of Noelelo and Willem Thaal former village head of Tasinifu lambasted the ignorance of the legislators.

PK: On behalf of Muspida Belu, Police Chief of Belu, Adj. Snr. Comr. Nender Yani said that Joao da Silva Tavares would be summoned and questioned by Muspida of Belu over a peaceful demonstration held on Saturday (27/10) in Atambua. Refugees staged demonstration to welcome the visit made by Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare, Jusuf Kalla at the border to witness the repatriation process. Tavares was considered to have broken the agreement of meeting with Muspida of Belu and to have insulted Udayana Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa. Police Chief Nender Yani, stated further that Tavares has breached the permission given by Police of Belu to conduct demonstration only on Friday (26/10) but continued to stage a demonstration the following day.

RT: After attending a meeting between Provincial Military Commander, Col. Moesanip and UNTAET Chief of Staff, N. Parameswaran in Kupang yesterday, Head of Information section of Provincial Military Base 161/Wirasakti, Capt, Longginus Lelo told journalists that Xanana will hold a meeting with a pro-integration hardliner, Joao da Silva Tavares in early November. However, a meeting between top officials of UNTAET and Governor of East Nusa Tenggara would be held on November 5th. Topics discussed would include the repatriation process of refugees who have been staying in camps for almost two years.

RT: The Government is planning to launch a socialization session to refugees at camps before the plan to stop assistance takes on early next year. Vice Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Johanis Pake Pani stated that the refugees will be explained other alternatives given by the government. The alternatives are repatriation, economy empowerment and resettlement. The socialization process would involve religious leaders, non-governmental organization members, community leaders and members of the taskforce for refugees.

RT: Bureau Head of Provincial Secretary Office, Stanis Tefa told the press yesterday that refugees seem to be reluctant to follow the resettlement program. At least 13 refugee families who had been staying at resettlement houses in Tulakaboak, Sulamu in Kupang regency left the houses and went back to live in camps. Reasons of moving out include the difficulty to socialize with locals and to get access to water sources. He informed further some 630 former members of Kamra (civilian security) had requested to be considered regular refugees in order to receive aid from the government although they had received their separation payment from the government. He also informed regarding the repatriation process, as many as 4,500 refugees returned to East Timor during the period of June and October 2001.

Thursday, 01 November 2001

NTT X: An incident broke out on Monday midnight (29/10) in Boukoek, East Tasifeto subdistrict, Belu. Police members who came to the site to restore orders were attacked and one member was reported injured. The incident broke out after a Nindya Karya company truck experiened brake failures almost ran over a parade of people who were walking and carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary in a religious ceremony. Although the truck did not run over any persons, several people were injured when trying to escape from the ill-fated truck. Police members who were dispatched to the site were stone pelted by the mass but restored orders at the site by dawn. Police suspected refugees were allegedly involved in the attack.

NTT X: Former commander of pro-integration fighters, Joao da Silva Tavares told the press that he wanted to retire from refugee matters and live in another part of Indonesia. He is planning to sell his house and have already contacted his relatives in Jakarta about the plan to leave Atambua. He reasoned that he was old enough now and really wanted to resign from all refugee' matters. Tavares is almost seventy five years old and has been handling refugee matters in West Timor since September 1999.

RT: Antara reported seven community leaders from Baucau, East Timor are now heading towards Kupang to attend reconciliation meeting in Kupang and particularly to meet with refugees from Baucau. They were fetched by Provincial Police members and would be escorted to arrive in Kupang. The seven community leaders are from Kelikai subdistrict of Baucau.

Friday, 02 November 2001

PK: Gusty wind and heavy rain hit Haekesak village in East Tasifeto, Belu regency on Tuesday (30/10). The storm lasted for five minutes but injured five persons and destroyed some 200 houses including the sub-district hall. According to sub-district head of Haekesak, Drs, Guido Mauk, most of the destroyed houses belonged to East Timor refugees but the houses had already been repaired. He had reported the disaster to District Head of Belu, Drs, Marsellus Bere.

PK: Provincial Government of East Nusa Tenggara are bracing for possible disturbances with the decision to stop the assistance to East Timor refugees by the end of this year. 3rd Assistant of District Secretary Office, Ir,, T. Salean stated this at the Governor's office yesterday. Provincial Government, supported by Military and Police would anticipate any possibility resulted by the decision. He appealed the refugees to be considerate and understand the decision the government had to make.

RT: Refugee leaders from the areas of Ailiu, Manatuto and Liquica are ready to hold a big reconciliation meeting at the border of Salele, in Covalima District on November 5th. Chief of Reconciliation team of Ailiu District, Belarmino Filomeno Neves, stated in Atambua yesterday that the representatives of refugees from the three districts had confirmed their presence at the reconciliation meeting. He informed further that, particularly for Ailiu district, there would be around 132 refugee delegations that would meet with 190 delegations of people from Ailiu, East Timor. He assumed similar numbers from the two other districts would also be present at the meeting. The agenda of the meeting would be to convey a peace process message to all the people of East Timor. Refugees are scheduled to read out their stance statement during the meeting.

RT: After attending the reconciliation meeting between refugees and the people of Ermera in Mota Ain, Belu recently, refugee leader from Ermera, Claudio de Jesus Lay stated that points of reconciliation proposed by the people of Ermera are too strong for the refugees. He singled out one point stating that any proven-guilty human rights perpetrator should be brought to court and sentenced accordingly. Jesus Lay also objected another point stating returning refugees should admit their acceptance of 1999 ballots and East Timor independence. He purported that the people of East Timor should understand that it is difficult for the refugees to admit it verbally but with their return, it has actually implied their acceptance of the independence. Claudio de Jesus Lay was a provincial legislator when East Timor was a part of Indonesia.

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