Subject: WT Press Update Sept 2 -18 2001

West Timor Press Summaries

2nd September -18th September 2001

NTT X ? NTT Eks pres; PK ? Pos Kupang; ST ? Surya Timor; RT ? Radar Timor; SP ? Sasando Pos

3rd September

PK:Bishop of Dili, Mgr. Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo expected that there would more than one candidate running for presidency. This would help to improve the democratic atmosphere in the new country. He regretted that all the contending parties in the election only nominate Xanana Gusmao for the presidency.

NTT X: Tentative result of the election in Timor Lorosae is to be announced on Wednesday (5/9) by the Independent Electoral Commission. The counting process is still continuing at the UN Civilian Police Base in Comoro West Dili. According to the Electoral Officer, Carlos Valenzuela, out of 1,632 ballot boxes, six were damaged. The highest average rate of people's participation in the election was from District of Ermera, out of 42, 814 registered voters, 94,3% turned out in the election. Dili showed the lowest percentage of people's participation in the election, out of 80, 567 registered voters, 87,1% cast their votes. However, Dili had the largest number of voters among the districts in East Timor.

RT: Legislator, Permadi who was present in the election in East Timor, stated on Saturday in Dili that the strong candidate for presidency, Xanana Gusmao is keen to maintain a good relationship with Jakarta, and for that purpose, he wanted to hold meeting with President Megawati Soekarnoputri.. Separately, Xanana was quoted, as saying that there would be a need to give special attention to human right violations, however developing Timor Lorosae would be also a top priority.

PK: Despite tight security of both Indonesian military and UN-PKF personnel around the border areas, two people from East Timor managed to cross the border into Belu regency on Thursday night (31/8). The two people were questioned at the Police base of Belu and admitted that they are from Kowa, Bobonaro District. They went to East Timor in December but decided to return to Indonesian territory.

11th September

PK: The presence of East Timor refugees for the last 2 years in East Nusa Tenggara has greatly influenced the performance of development and governing activities in the province. Government's attention has been drawn to the handling of refugees in the recent years. Head of Regional Development Board of NTT, Ir. Esthon L. Foenay stated this in his report to the Development Coordination Meeting at the City Hall on Monday. He stated further that the Government's attention towards the rural area developments could not be maximized since it has to take special care for the refugees.

PK: Two bomb threats were made in Kupang City yesterday. Around 10.40am yesterday a bomb threat was made to the State Court of Kupang. Head of the State Court, I Gusti Made Antara, S.H received a bomb threat through the phone at his office from an anonymous person. Two hours earlier, a state junior high school in Kupang (SLTP N 3 Kupang) also received a bomb threat. The bomb threat made to the State Court was suspected to be made in relation with the trial being held at the court. A unit of Mobile Brigade personnel was dispatched to secure the court. Police personnel also came to the respected school to secure the school compound.

12th September

NTTX: A number of Police personnel of East Nusa Tenggara were allegedly involved in an attempt to run away of 46 Middle East illegal immigrants from Kupang to South Central Timor regency. Some of the illegal immigrants admitted receiving help from the Police of their running away plan and were charged with US$300 for each immigrant. Spokespersons of East Nusa Tenggara Police, 1st Inspector, Chusnul Waton, SS, speaking on behalf of the Provincial Police Chief, Brig. Gen. Jacky Uly, strongly denied the alleged involvement of police personnel. The 46 illegal immigrants ran away from their accommodation at a Pilgrimage boarding house in Kupang on Sunday night. All were captured on the following day in SoE, the capital of South Central Timor Regency when they were hiding at one house. Another unit of Police Personnel was deployed to the immigrants' detention centre at the Pilgrimage Boarding House of Kupang to reinforce security.

13th September

RT: An incident occurred on Sunday (9/9) at Sulit village in East Malaka subdistrict. Refugees had just finished hearing a socialization session from their leader Cancio Lopez de Carvalho about repatriation home when a group of at least 20 youth led by Joao Baptista, known as a former militiamen commander, came to the site and looted two motorcycles owned by the refugees. Armed with sharp weapons, these attackers reportedly took away registration forms of repatriation distributed by Refugees' affair taskforce members. Some of the refugees were filling out the forms when these people seized the forms including a number of refugees' citizenship identification cards. Cancio who heard the attack upon his arrival at his home then rushed to the Commander of 726 Military Battalion to report the case. The security personnel could prevent worse conflict among the refugees.

RT: At least 94 households or about 350 persons were repatriated to East Timor through Motaain checkpoint yesterday. The repatriation was facilitated by the Refugees' affair taskforce. Antara reported from Atambua that the refugees were repatriated aboard 30 trucks and the repatriation process was reported peaceful. Earlier, the refugees were picked up by the Taskforce from their camp at Labur Village, East Malaka around 50kms form Atambua and then gathered in front of the taskforce office in Atambua. Around 9.30am the refugees left for the border of Motaain. A number of refugees stated that the decision to return home was made after a meeting was held among the refugees from Aileu knowing the election was held peacefully in East Timor.

RT: Commander of border security taskforce, Let. Col. Magna Candra stated yesterday that TNI is ready to secure the repatriation process of thousands of refugees scheduled for tomorrow (14/09). "We will make sure that the repatriation will run smoothly since the taskforce does not want any party to disturb the repatriation process", the commander was quoted as saying to Antara yesterday.

14th September

RT: The plan to repatriate at least 2000 refugees from Ainaro failed to materialize yesterday. This was because the refugees' affair taskforce failed to reach former pro-integration fighter Commander, Cancio Lopez da Carvalho to confirm the repatriation plan, which then resulted in the failure of the repatriation. At least 258 refugee households or 961 refugees have been registered to be repatriated but their confirmation of returning home would depend on Carvalho. These refugees would want to return home only if they would be led by Carvalho. As of now, the taskforce staff are still not able to contact Carvalho. This uncertainty has influenced the repatriation preparation process that has been made including the procurement of more than 100 vehicles to carry the refugees. UNHCR and IOM were the organizations that provided these vehicles. The failure of the repatriation was suspected due to the boycott made by Carvalho following looting incident occurred on Sunday in South Belu. Carvalho had reportedly threatened to boycott the repatriation if the case is yet to be settled.

RT: Former militiamen Commander, Joao Baptista Amaral requested the Police to mediate his meeting with Cancio Lopez de Carvalho to clarify the accusation of motorcycle lootings in the incident on Sunday. Carvalho accused Baptista to have been involved in the looting of two motorcycles in an incident at Middle Malaka Subdistrict after a socialisation session held by Carvalho for the refugees from Ainaro regarding their repatriation plan. Baptista's supporters challenged the Carvalho's group to provide evidence of their accusation towards Baptista.

15th September

PK: Candidate of Timor Lorosae first president, Xanana Gusmao came to greet the return of East Timor refugees from West Timor at the border of Metamasin on Friday (14/9). He warmly hugged the leader of the groups, King Kasa, Mateus de Carvalho and his son Fransisco Lopez de Carvalho, and the children who walked along with other refugees. Xanana was accompanied by Chief of Staff of UNTAET, N. Parameswaran to greet the refugees at the bridge of Metamasin located between the security posts of UNPKF and Indonesian Military. Several Military and Police Officials came to witness the repatriation process such as Regional Military Commander, William T. da Costa, Border Security Taskforce Commander, Let Col. Magna Chandra, and Vice Head of Provincial Police, Senr Comr. Gories Mere. This was the first repatriation post the election held on August 30th in East Timor. The number of refugees who returned home was 258 head of households or at least 961 persons including a baby corpse who died during the preparation of the repatriation a day earlier. All were aboard 110 trucks. In that occasion Xanana stated his hope to improve a good neighborhood relationship with Indonesia taking as an example of Malaysia and Singapore. He also expressed his gratitude to the government of Indonesia for taking care of the refugees during these times and they could start returning home in big numbers. Leaders of pro-integration groups from Ainaro, Fransisco Lopez de Carvalho, before entering the East Timor territory, read out ten points of political stance including one point admitting the result of August 30th 1999 ballots held by UN and support all efforts by the UN for East Timorese to gain independence. Snr. Comr.Gories Mere, reported that people in Ainaro held a traditional party to welcome the return of their brothers home.

RT: Cancio Lopez de Carvalho, former commander of militiamen, stated that up to now he is still postponing his plan to be repatriated home. In a press briefing a moment after the return of his parents and hundreds of refugees to East Timor, Carvalho stated that he would follow his parents to return to EastTimor. Declining to give reasons of his postponement, he stated that more efforts for the repatriation of the refugees would still be made adding that the 961 returning refugees are only a fraction of thousands of refugees from Ainaro who wanted to be repatriated home.

RT: Vice Chief of Provincial Police of East Nusa Tenggara, Snr. Comr. Gories Mere stated that he would not tolerate people who want to foil the repatriation process and stern measures would be taken against these people. He stated this on Friday, after witnessing the returning of 961 refugees back to East Timor.

18th September

RT: In a 2-page stance statement faxed to Radar Timor yesterday, former deputy commander of pro-integration fighters, Eurico Guterres lambasted two former commanders of militiamen, Cancio Lopez de Carvalho and Joanico Sezario Bello. He accused the two figures as being ambivalent and opportunistic. The 2-page stance statement was entitled, "Eurico Guterres, Victim of 1999 Political Conspiracy". Cancio Carvalho and Joanico Sezario have recently been actively promoting the repatriation of East Timor refugees back to East Timor.

RT: Head of Forestry and Land Conservation Department of Belu, Valen Kellen informed that based on the ground investigation by his field staff, locals had also participated in the clear cut of protected forest in Belu regency resulting in 500 hectares destruction of the forest. Locals were believed to follow suit in cutting clear the forest since none of the refugees who had cut down the trees at the protected forest had taken lawful action. Efforts made by the Forestry Department were only limited to holding socialisation sessions to the people disseminating the negative impacts of forest destruction and making appeals to the people not to cut down the forest.

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