Subject: Former East Timorese refugees in Indonesia's Sulawesi protest lack of food

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

August 11, 2009

Former East Timorese refugees in Indonesia's Sulawesi protest lack of food

Text of report in English by Indonesian government-owned news agency Antara website

[Unattributed article: 'Kehabisan Bahan Makanan, Eks Pengungsi Timtim Mengamuk']

Former East Timorese refugees who have been housed at a social services office at an unspecified location in Southeast Sulawesi for the past three months have protested over the lack of adequate food and provisions.

The Head of the North Sulawesi Public Solidarity Forum for Refugees (FSPMST), Arsyid D, said in Kendari on 10 August that the refugees were out of food and the government has not provided any information on when they will receive supplies.

During their protest, a number of the refugees shouted, banged on doors, smashed cooking pots, and argued with office staff.

Police on the scene were appealing for calm when the Head of Intelligence for the 143/Haluleo Military Sub-area, Lieutenant Colonel Alamsyah, suddenly arrived and intervened. Alamsyah was able to calm the protesters at one stage, however the refugees later resumed their protest.

Data based on [undated] information compiled collaboratively between the FSPMST and sub-district heads, local sub-district police and military sub-district commands reveals that in four unspecified districts [in Southeast Sulawesi], the East Timorese refugees totalled 7,372 families or 27,260 individuals.

Previous statistics from 2006-2007 indicate that there were [3,440] families ([14,461] individuals) in the Buton District, 2,145 families (6,655 individuals) in the Wakatobi District, 794 families (3,023 individuals) in the Bombana District, and 993 families (3,121 individuals) in the Kota Bau-Bau District.

Meanwhile, on 31 March 2008, the governor of North Sulawesi said that as many as 7,372 former East Timorese families [in the region] have become Indonesian citizens. However, in a letter dated 21 April 2009, the governor revised this number to 6,087 families.

Source: Antara news agency, Jakarta, in English 0000 gmt 10 Aug 09

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