|Subject: West Timor Press Summaries 2809 -
Please find attached, and below as text, summaries of the West Timorese Press from the last three weeks.
West Timor Press Summaries 28th September ? 16th October 2001 NTT X ? NTT Eks pres; PK ? Pos Kupang; ST ? Surya Timor; RT ? Radar Timor; SP ? Sasando Pos
Friday 28th September
PK: A European parliamentary delegation plans to visit Kupang on 10 October 2001 to see first hand the conditions of East Timorese refugees still residing in camps in West Timor (NTT). This was announced by the Head of Information, Publication and Communication at the NTT East Nusa Tenggara Regional Government Public Relations Bureau, Marsel Tupen Massan, at the NTT gubernatorial office on Wednesday (26 September)?The delegation, before visiting refugee camps, will meet Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, DPR House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung, MPR People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais and Udayana Military Area Commander Maj-Gen Willem da Costa. The delegation will consist of Harmut Nassauer, Richard G. Corbett and Karin Riis-Jorgensen. They will be assisted by the Political and Economic Counsellor from the European High Commission to Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei, Baltasar Benz name as received .The delegation will meet the Udayana Commander in Denpasar before heading to Kupang.
Wednesday 3rd October
NTT X: Udayana Regional Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa stated that he had received an official notification from UNHCR that the organization will not return to West Timor to help overcome the refugees' problems. Maj. Gen. Da Costa told this after attending the hand-over ceremony of Provincial Military Commander post from Col. Budi Heriayanto to Col. Muswarno Moenasip here in Kupang yesterday. Maj. Gen. Da Costa stated further that UNHCR reasoned that their returning and their continuation of aid distribution for the refugees would not help educate the refugees to stand on their own. That is why the organization decided not to return to West Timor. However, it will still give assistance to the refugees who decide to be repatriated until they are ready to earn a living on their own. Maj. Gen, da Costa stated he could accept the decision saying that that the reason given by UNHCR is understandable. Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet Talo had also informed Maj. Gen, da Costa that the provincial government would still give aid to the refugees but only until December 2001. Asked by the journalists about refugees' resistance to stay at camps, Maj. Gen, da Costa stated that starting from January 2002, there would be no aid given by the provincial government to the refugees, and that means the camps will be closed. Refugees who insist to stay in the territory are advised to find other places to stay.
Cendana Pos: UNTAET Chief of staff, N. Parameswaran stated yesterday after meeting with Kupang Regent, Medah that refugees have their own rights to decide whether to return home or to stay in Indonesian territory. He informed that he came to Kupang to hold talks with the Regent of Kupang, Medah, about the planned repatriation of refugees in a big number on October 17th and 18th and reported to the Regent of the latest situation in East Timor. The refugees, scheduled to be repatriated on October 17th and 18th, are known as former members of Mahidi militiamen and will be led by their two leaders, Nemencio Lopez de Carvalho and Cancio de Carvalho in the repatriation. Parameswaran stated that he was hopeful that the voluntary returns of these former members of Mahidi, will encourage more refugees to return.
PK: At least 300 refugees came to the Regent's office of Alor on Tuesday morning demanding clarification of the alleged embezzlement of the refugees fund by certain officials at the District Secretary Office of Alor. They threatened if District government did not meet their demands, they would take hostage some executives of District Secretary Office suspected to be involved in the fraud.
PK: There are at least 28 East Timor families or about 100 persons residing in North Central Timor regency (TTU) that have returned to East Timor after the election on August 30th in East Timor. District Military Commander of TTU, Lieut. Col. Bambang Supriyatno told this on Saturday (29/9) at his office.
RT: Former Deputy of Pro Integration Fighters, Eurico Guterres told Radar Timor over the phone last night that he did not want the refugees to be forced to make decision whether they would return home or stay in Indonesian territory. He welcomed different opinions from other pro-integration leaders of ways to handle the refugees, but reminded them, specifically Cacio Lopez de Carvalho and Joanico Cesario not to force the refugees to return home. Both figures were known to have been actively campaigning encouraging refugees to return home to East Timor.
RT: Joao da Silva Tavares expressed his willingness to become Xanana Gusmao's advisor, should the latter be elected President. However, he would refuse any formal position such as East Timorese Military Commander or Minister of Defense. He acknowledged Xanana Gusmao as a charismatic leader but the would-be president could not do much without qualified manpower to develop East Timor. However, those who are considered as pro-integration people have better quality of manpower. Tavarez remains skeptical about the future of East Timor if Xanana would still be surrounded by aides such as Mario Viegas Carascalo, Manuel Carascalao, Joao Carascalao and Ramos Horta whom he considered as opportunists.
Thursday 4th October
PK: Social Minister, Bachtiar Chamsyah contended that government would take stern measures against any intruder trying to hamper the repatriation process of refugees back to East Timor. He brushed aside the accusations towards the Central and Provincial Government that blamed the governments to have hindered the will of thousands of refugees to return home. He reasoned that there is a strong bind between the refugees and their homeland, therefore there is no need to hinder or prevent them from returning home. Conversely, the Government would assist them and provide facility for them to return. Certain groups who want to hinder the refugees' return will face stern measures taken by the Military and Police. Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah stated this after attending the coordination meeting of People's Welfare in Jakarta yesterday.
PK: Commander of Udayana Military Command, Maj. Gen. Willem da Costa stated yesterday that if his subordinates were found guilty inciting the recent clash in SoE, then he will not feel any doubt to take stern measures including termination of the members. Maj. Gen. Da Costa added that since he held the command, he has already dismantled at least 50 military members from the Army for their unlawful acts.
NTT X: Provincial Police Chief of East Nusa Tenggara, Brig. Gen, Jacky Uly gave a similar statement regarding the recent clash in SoE which resulted in three injuries and one Mobile Brigade member wounded. He asserted that Police members proven to be the masterminds of the clash with the East Timor refugees likely be discharged. He added that he had yet to review the report of the investigation made by the Police team that was assigned to probe into the clash. Should military members be found involved to steer the clash, Brig. Gen, Uly stated that he would report to Udayana Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa.
PK: The Government of Belu had to postpone its schedule phase VIII rice distribution for the refugees residing at camps in Kobalima and Central Malaka subdistricts in Belu regency. Head of Social Section of Secretary Office of Belu, Untung BA said on Tuesday (2/10) the postponement had to be done since data of the refugees in the two sub districts still need to be evaluated with the return of thousands of refugees recently. However, the rice aid distributions for ten other sub districts/assisting sub districts in Belu regency are still running smoothly. Currently, the government are using the available data of refugees which totals to 218.000 persons in Belu regency. There was a slight decrease in numbers compared to the previous phase distribution; 219, 070 beneficiaries.
PK: Director of Mandiri Bank of Kupang, Simon Petrus Nay said on Tuesday (2/10) that he had been contacted by Xanana's staff requesting to open a branch office in Timor Lorosae since the Indonesian currency is still used widely in East Timor. He informed that the Mandiri Bank had actually conducted a survey for the possibility to open a branch in the new country. However, Petrus Nay was quick to add that another survey would still be needed to make the decision. Before opening a branch there, Mandiri Bank needs to claim all assets left after the disturbances in Dili, 1999. The bank will delegate a team to Dili to conduct a census of assets and assess the possibility of opening a branch.
PK: After attending the hand-over ceremony of Commander post of 161 Wirasakti Command on Tuesday in Kupang, Udayana Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa defied accusations towards him and Police Chief of East Nusa Tenggara for having intimidated the refugees to return home to East Timor. He purported that what he and the Police Chief had done so far was trying to end the suffering that the refugees are going through. Regarding the Security Phase V status applied on West Timor areas, he informed further that the Foreign Affairs Minister will meet with the UNSECOORD team to hold talks about it in Jakarta within this week.
Friday, 5th October
NTT X: Speaking in front of at least 2000 villagers of Takirin village in East Tasifeto subdistrict, Belu Regency on Thursday, the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Piet Talo and his deputy, Johanes Pake Pani stated that as of January 1st 2002, the government would end the distribution of rice aid and side dish money. Refugees are expected to able to stand on their own by that time. However, refugees are still given options whether to return home or stay in Indonesian territory. The government will help facilitate the repatriation process for those who wish to return. The Governor stated further that he had recently spoken with Xanana Gusmao who expressed his hope for the refugees to return home soon. Xanana gave a warranty for the refugees' safety. Meanwhile, subdistrict chief of East Tasifeto, Marsel Mau Meta reported that there are 9.516 refugees and 18.822 locals recorded as residents of East Tasifeto subdistrict.
PK: Head of Social Aid Section of the Social Affairs Department of East Nusa Tenggara, Drs. Damra Saleh said yesterday in Kupang that the government had spent almost Rp.51 billion on refugees' side dish money since January to August 2001. This did not include funds for purchasing rice aid, transport expenses, and fees for staff who distributed the rice. It is estimated that for the refugees' side dish money, the Government has spent more than Rp. 100 billion for the year 2001. Meanwhile, rice aid allocated for the refugees from January to August had reached more than Rp.13.5 tons. The amount of funds for rice aid and side dish money for this year has increased drastically compared to the previous year. This is because during the year of 2000, rice aid and side dish money fund were mostly handled by international organizations. With the implementation of the Security phase V status in West Timor, the responsibility was automatically vested on the government. Damrah Saleh informed that at present the Central Government is dispersing refugees' side dish money fund for the period of July and August and the delivery of rice aid of about 3,451, 272 tons. The government uses the existing data to allocate the side dish money and rice aid with 151,159 refugees as beneficiaries.
PK: Responding to the recent demonstration staged by East Timor refugees in Kalabahi, Alor regency regarding the alleged embezzlement of refugees' fund amounting to Rp.20,1 billion by district officials, District Government of Alor decided to establish a joint investigation team consisting of District Government officials, members of Alor legislative assembly and refugees' representatives to probe into the case. The establishment of the team was made as an outcome of the meeting attended by district government officials, members of district legislative assembly and refugees' representatives.
NTT X: Refugees' affairs taskforce underwent a restructuring within its organization reducing its members to only 13 personnel. Taskforce Chief, Basyiruddin Yusuf stated in Atambua on Wednesday that with the reduction of its members, the top priority of the taskforce would be on the repatriation process. Separately, Basyruddin informed that refugees who return home will be welcomed by the people with an anti violence campaign and an appeal to forget what happened in the past. He obtained this information during his one-week visit in Dili where he could meet with the people of Dili and conducted coordination with related institutions such as UNTAET, UNHCR and IOM. He also had the chance to meet with Dilli Administrator Ruben J. B Carvalho and Timor Lorosae Community figure, Armandina Gusmao, who represent the people of East Timor, expressed their hopes for their brothers in West Timor to return home.
RT: Basyrudin Yusuf, Chief Refugees' affairs taskforce stated yesterday that he had requested UNTAET to disseminate the latest information of the situation development in Timor Lorosae through leaflets to the refugees in West Timor. The information needed to be included in the leaflets include security condition, prospect of lives in East Timor, the enthusiasm of the people in Timor Lorosae, to welcome the refugees and situation after the election in East Timor on August 30th. The leaflets would provide actual information of the situation in Timor Lorosae that would serve to clarify rumors and misleading information received by the refugees in West Timor.
RT: UNHCR estimated that at least 84. 707 refugees are still residing in camps throughout West Timor areas with the biggest number of refugees from Maliana (Bobonaro); 19, 385 refugees. Out of the total number of refugees in West Timor, UNHCR expected at least 60.000 refugees would want to return to East Timor and the remaining would choose to stay in Indonesia. Since September 2000, as many as 13.263 have been successfully repatriated home. This number does not include hundreds of refugees facilitated by the refugees' affairs taskforce to have returned to East Timor early this month.
Saturday 6th October
PK: Udayana Military Commander, Maj. Gen, Willem da Costa sent a team to SoE to investigate an incident which emerged on September 26th that resulted in three injuries and one Mobile Brigade member suffering a shot wound. According to the newly appointed 161 Wirasakti Military Commander, Col Muswarno Moesanip, the team left for SoE on Friday morning (5/10). The outcome of the investigation would be useful for Udayana Military Commander to take lawful action against members according to the prevailing Military code.
PK: Five areas of protected forest in Belu regency are reportedly severely damaged. The destruction could reach at least 62.000 hectares. Out of which, 700 hectares were destroyed by East Timor refugees who cut clear the forest to open land for agriculture. Five severely destroyed areas of the protected forest are located in Seli, Bifemnasi Sonmahole, Wemata, Fatukadua and Kateri Park. Head of Forestry Department of Belu, Valentinus Kellen conceded the destruction of forest in Belu adding that the forestry staff had done their best to prevent the destruction but the refugees had never taken attention to the appeal and continued to clear the protected forest.
RT: UNTAET Chief of Staff, N. Parameswaran told journalists recently in Kupang that the mission for UNTAET in Timor Lorosae is likely to be extended since people are still expecting the presence of UNTAET to help draft the country's constitution and preparation towards independence. However, Parameswaran added that the extension would depend on the decision of the newly established government.
RT: In his press release received by Radar Timor yesterday, Eurico informed that he met with the speaker of the National Legislative Assembly, Akbar Tanjung to voice out the demands from refugees regarding security warranty, education, working opportunities, and social welfare as promised by the Government. He also conveyed a suggestion of a possible resettlement area for the refugees.
RT: Legislative Assmebly of Belu revealed its support for the government to bring an end to the aid program for refugees by January 2002. Speaker of Legislative Assembly of Belu, Herman J. Loe Mau revealed this after Deputy to Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Johanis Pake Pani conducted his working visit in the regency on Thursday (4/10). Herman J. Loe was quoted as saying that after providing food aid and side dish money for almost two years, the Government has reached its limit of capacity and moreover, this decision in turn would help the refugees to start earning their own living. He appealed to the refugees to take the decision wisely without reacting emotionally since it would only inflict losses to the people.
Cendana Pos: During his meeting with the Bishop of Atambua, Mgr, Anton Pain Ratu, Deputy Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Drs, Johanis Pake Pani revealed plans by the Provincial Government to end its refugees' aid program. The decision will be underway by the end of the year and there would be no more use of the terminology 'refugees'. All would be considered Indonesian Citizens. The Government's attention would still be given but limited to providing assistance as activities that would motivate the refugees to work to make a living. Pake Pani purported that the emergency situation has passed, the refugees are now entering the rehabilitation phase in which community empowerment would be top priority.
Monday 8th October
NTT X: After going through intensive treatment at the Public Hospital of Kupang, 1st Brigadier, Imanuel Min, member of Mobile Brigade who sustained a shot wound in the recent incident in SoE, died on Sunday (7/10). 1st Brigadier, Min was a member of the platoon dispatched to SoE to reinforce Police to place order during the clash, which occurred on Wednesday (26/9). The incident between the Police and East Timor refugees erupted following the demonstrations staged by the East Timorese refugees demanding the release of their friends and for the police to return their goods seized during a raid to crack down gambling in SoE.
RT: Deputy Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Johanis Pake Pani stated that the government are planning to re-open a border post of North Central Timor Regency (TTU) and Ambenu. The post would serve to prevent illegal trading and to have control over people crossing across the border. Deputy Governor stated this during his meeting with refugees and locals in East Miomaffo Village in North Central Timor regency recently.
PK Website: Ten homes in the resettlement location of Tude Mauta, Alor district were burnt down by a mob on Monday (1 October) at 1400 local time. The mob, allegedly led by MM Massa, from Tude village, West Pantar sub-district, also destroyed an additional 14 houses. Pos Kupang were informed of the fire on Tuesday (2 October) from the West Pantar sub-district head Rusdi Saleh and the Community and Regional Development Project leader Sutiyo Sumardin, when both arrived in Kalabahi by boat from Baranusa, capital of West Pantar. Saleh claimed that on Monday he was picked up by resettlement project organizers Anis and Minggus. Both informed him there was a mob of Tude villagers gathered in the resettlement area planning to destroy the area. Saleh said he and two others then went Tude to check on the situation. "When we got there I was surprised to see 10 houses on fire and another 14 badly damaged. A bathing facility had also been destroyed," said Saleh..."The group consisted of 30 members. Massa admitted to being the ring-leader who destroyed the homes," he said. The reason for the destruction, according to Saleh, was the government had not yet provided running water to the area. They also felt the homes were not good enough... Alor police chief Assistant Senior Commissioner MA Sudharmono, when asked for confirmation from Pos Kupang, said he had already produced a report and was waiting for further official information from the police post and residents of West Pantar...
Thursday 11th October
PK: UNTAET's Attorney General Office officials came to Kupang on Saturday (7/10) to obtain updates of the UN-PKF soldier's, Leonard Manning, murder case. The entourage consisted of Deputy of Attorney General of UNTAET, Jean Galessen, Lieut. Col. Chalib and Major Rashid. These officials were received by Head of Kupang Prosecutors' office, Abdul Muis Gassing and other officials. Deputy of Attorney General of UNTAET, Galessen expressed his gratitude for the seriousness of the Police and Kupang Prosecutors' office in handling the case.
NTT X: In relation with the recent clash between East Timor refugees and Police in SoE recently, subdistrict Military Commander of Molo Utara, 2nd Liuet, Sho and Military Investigator, Capt. Sum has been officially detained by Military Police since October 7th. 2nd Lieut, Sho was detained for legalizing gambling activities at refugee camps in SoE, particularly at Kobalete stadium and Capt, Sum was detained for his role in backing up the gambling activities. As it was reported previously, the cracking down of gambling activities at the stadium of Kobalete by the police led to the incident in SoE between refugees and the Police.
PK: Based on results of investigation made by District Police of Belu, 521 persons were identified to have cleared Kateri protected forest in Central Malaka subdistrict in Belu regency. Out of that number, 319 persons were identified as East Timor refugees and 202 persons are locals living nearby the forest. District Police Chief of Belu, Adj. Snr. Comr, Drs. Nender Yani stated that the aforementioned number has yet to include those who cleared other protected forests in Belu.
Saturday 13th October
NTT X: Provincial Police of East Nusa Tenggara detained 14 suspects involved in gambling activities and the attack incident of the police base of SoE. Police Spokesperson, 1st Insp. Chusnul Waton, SS stated that the police only have the authority to question the civilian suspects adding that it would have to be the Military Police that would handle the questioning process of the two military members.
NTT X: Col Magna Chandra stated that during the routine meeting to be held on October 20th in Atambua, UN-PKF and the Indonesian Military would discuss the replacement of each force's troops stationed at the border. The meeting would be convened at the Police Base of Belu, in Atambua. The replacement would be made to improve coordination between the two forces in securing the border areas. The meeting would also involve members of Indonesian Police, UN Civilian Police, UNTAET, UNHCR, and IOM.
RT: According to Spokesperson of Governor's Office of Nusa Tenggara, Nani Kosapilawan, Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare, Jusuf Kalla gave a deadline by the end of this month for the Government of East Nusa Tenggara to submit data of refugees residing in West Timor. This was stated in a letter sent by the Minister to the Governor recently.
Cendana Pos: 21 refugees from camps in North Central Timor returned to Oecussi, East Timor on Friday (12/10). Aboard five trucks, the refugees were facilitated by the District Satkorlak and escorted to the border and were received by UNHCR and IOM. With this repatriation, there have been 91 families returned to East Timor from North Central Timor regency after the election in August in East Timor.
Tuesday 16th October
NTT X: As many as 492 refugees from Ainaro known as Nemecio's followers are scheduled to be repatriated tomorrow led by Nemecio Lopez de Carvalho himself. This number is predicted to still increase until the day of repatriation tomorrow. Secretary of Taskforce for Refugees' Affairs, DPO Tambunan told this to the press on Saturday (13/10) in Atambua. Meanwhile, another refugee figure, Dominggos Alaves is also making efforts to repatriate at least 66 households/301 refugees of Kovalima district residing in several locations in Central Malaka subdistrict, Belu and they are scheduled to be repatriated on Thursday (18/10).
NTT X: Head of Forestry Department Office of Belu, Valens Kellen stated that lack of food supply encountered by the East Timor refugees in Belu had forced them to cut clear the forest. He noted that the cutting began soon after the incident in Atambua in September 2000, after the pulling out of UNHCR and other international organizations from West Timor. Since then, the refugees have no longer received enough food supply but relying on the government's limited aid distribution. They had no choice but to cut clear the forest to open lands for farming.
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