Subject: JP: Security to be tightened along East Timor border

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Jakarta Post March 22, 2003

Security to be tightened along East Timor border

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara

Indonesia and the United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNPKF) have agreed to tighten security along the border of East Timor in the wake of alleged pro-Jakarta militia attacks operating in both countries, a military officer said on Friday.

The measure will include increasing border patrols and building more police posts along the border.

Kupang Military Commander Col. Inf. Moeswarno Moesanip said the agreement followed a meeting between the Indonesian Military (TNI), the police and UNPKF last Wednesday.

"There is an agreement between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the UNPKF to tightened border security to avoid infiltration from Timor Leste to West Timor and vice versa," he told The Jakarta Post.

Moeswarno said the agreement aimed at stifling the movement of alleged pro-Indonesia militiamen operating in both countries.

Lax security has enabled militiamen to cross the border and evade detection.

TNI has deployed around 600 personnel along the border.

Moeswarno, however, said he had at his disposal two battalions, which amounts to some 2,000 soldiers. He did not say whether the agreement required him to call on additional troops for border security.

He said UNPKF told him that militiamen posed a threat to stability in East Timor, whose population is coping with economic hardship nearly four years after independence from Indonesia.

He added that the military had captured six suspected militiamen in the border town of Atambua who may have been involved in last month's attack on a bus. One person died and three others sustained injuries in the ambush.

The ambush near the East Timor town of Ribeira de Loes came a day after the UNPKF deputy commander Brig. Gen. Justin Kelly said pro-Indonesia militia had launched a "terrorist strategy" to destabilize East Timor.

In January, five civilians were killed in an attack in East Timor, which eyewitnesses blamed on militiamen.

East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. Jacki Uly said the police would increase its guard posts along the border.

He said that aside from restricting the movement of the militia group, the police must also stop illegal border crossings by East Timorese.

An immigration official said earlier this month that people in both countries often crossed the border without carrying passports.


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