Subject: Indonesia: Fuel smuggling along border with East Timor "rampant"

Indonesia: Fuel smuggling along border with East Timor "rampant"

May 23, 2005 5:44am

Asia Intelligence Wire

Excerpt from report by Emmy F: "Fuel smuggling along East Timor border again rampant" by Indonesian Detikcom web site on 22 May

Atambua: Smuggling of fuel and various basic commodities across the Indonesia-East Timor border has become rife again. There have been at least 100 cases of smuggling in the past four months via Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

This smuggling has been triggered by the sharp increase in the cost of goods in East Timor using the US dollar as the country's currency, and also the minimal number of personnel placed in the border region.

The Commander of the Indonesia Border Security Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Yul Avianto, said that in the last four months there had been more than 100 cases of smuggling cases along the border. [passage omitted]

"TNI [Indonesian Armed Forces] has been making maximum efforts to prevent smuggling and the black market. However, the number of personnel posted along the border was still limited because the border between the two countries was more than 200 kilometres," complained Avianto, when contacted by telephone on Sunday (22 May).

Avianto added that there were two battalions with a total number of 1,500 personnel deployed along the border in Belu district. They were distributed to 47 posts. [passage omitted on repetitive details]

The Head of Public Relations with NTT Police, Commissioner Marthen Radja, when contacted separately, said that the police had positioned one Brimob [mobile brigade] company in the border region between the two countries. Their main duty was to assist TNI with security along the border between the two countries. In Belu district in particular, the police had constructed six guard posts which were located at six gateways into East Timor.

Source: Detikcom web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 22 May 05

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