Subject: West Timor newspaper summaries 27 April - 4 May

West Timor Press Summaries

27th April - 4th May 2001

Selected, translated summaries of articles from the following newspapers which are published and circulated in West Timor.

NTT X - NTT Ekspres; PK - Pos Kupang; ST - Surya Timor; RT - Radar Timor; SP - Sasando Pos

27th April

PK: Former Commander of the Timorese Integration Fighters (PPI), Cancio Lopes de Carvalo, confirmed that the presence of the Veteran Brigade or Partisan Brigade on the border between East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and East Timor has the backing of a certain group who feel they were defeated in East Timor. The brigade has been carrying out an underground movement to take East Timor back. "The Veteran Brigade really does exist. It was established after the PPI was abolished and I have convincing evidence of it," Carvalo said at his residence on Thursday (26 April). According to Carvalo, certain figures who felt they had lost, supported the Veteran Brigade by exploiting the 1975 East Timor integration fighters. "I don't want to name the institution or the figures, but don't pass on the blame," he said. He regretted accusations from certain groups that he as the PPI Commander and other PPI leaders were the brains behind the Veteran Brigade. He went on to say that members of various institutions often came and held meetings with the Veteran Brigade. "I know that for a fact. We should not let them pass the buck onto other people. Pitting one against the other was common practice in the old East Timor and we do not want West Timor to become an area of conflict," he said. Carvalo estimated that the Veteran Brigade had at least 10,000 to 15,000 members. He emphasized that it would be unlikely that former PPI fighters would join with the Veteran Brigade as those in the PPI were from the younger generation while those in the Veteran Brigade comprised of integration fighters from 1975. He added that the Veteran Brigade wanted to take back East Timor using arms. "They don't support the reconciliation we are fighting for," he said.

28th April

PK: Kapolda of NTT, Brig. Gen Jacky Uly will be invited to Belu to clarify the bomb threat in the Bishop's residence. Vice speaker of the legislative assembly of Belu, Blasius Manek, said on Friday (27/4), that the people of Belu need clarification from the Police whether or not the bomb found at the residence of Bishop was a real bomb. The clarification is important to prevent rumours that could provoke and destroy the unity of the people in Belu, as different versions have been made by officers regarding the threat. Commander of Mobile Brigade of Kupang, Ajun Chief Commr. Drs. FX Bagus W, and Kadit IPP POLDA NTT, Chief Commr. Hidayat Fabanyo stated that the assembled bomb was fake since it was not equipped with a detonator. However, Vice- Police Chief of Belu, Drs. Koeshartono, asserted that the bomb found was a real one.

PK: Villagers of Lasiana Kupang rejected the presence of 20 refugee families sheltering in their village after the recent incident in Noelbaki Camp, Kupang. A number of refugees sought shelter in nearby villages after the clash but locals are worried and afraid with the erratic attitudes of the refugees that may lead to violence.

PK: Provocateurs are assumed to be present around the border spreading rumours to oppose people against one another. One of the indications was an attack launched by five men to the residence of religious leaders in Paroki Nela Belu recently. The five men still remain at large but no injury was reported in the attack. Contacted regarding the attack, Local Police Chief (Kapolres) of Belu ajun Chief Commr. Drs. Nender Yani affirmed that his members were dispatched immediately to the site and indicated the presence of particular groups in provoking people in Belu.

RT: A coordinator of refugees at the Noelbaki camp indicated an alleged involvement of military behind the recent clash at the camp. A member of TNI was seen involved in the clash on Sunday (23/04) night. The coordinator of refugees, Abraham , along with some other refugees told to former commander of Pro-Integration fighters Sector A, Joanico Cesario. However, they refused to name the TNI member due to their safety reason.

RT: Districts whose areas are housing East Timor refugees are to be given authority by the Coordinating ministry for Political, Security and Social Affairs to form registration -working groups in their districts as told by the Head of Manpower and Transmigration office of NTT, Yoseph Setyohadi. There is only three weeks left before the scheduled date of registration to start, as yet sufficient preparation has not been made.

30th April

NTT X: At least 90 resettlement houses were knocked down by the refugees in the resettlement village of Umaklaran in Belu Regency. The refugees sold some of the building materials of the houses and brought the rest back with them. These were houses given to them as a part of a resettlement program. Head of Umaklaran Village, Maria Bani affirmed this information and regretted the refugees' behaviour. The locals who witnessed the destruction of the houses could do nothing to prevent this as the refugees were armed with sharp weapons. The project coordinator of the resettlement program from the construction company admitted that a number of houses had been destroyed by the refugees. The company had tried to rebuild the houses only to be destroyed again by the refugees. At least 944 refugees are sheltering in the village.

SP: The number of refugees sheltering in Kupang has decreased. Assistant II of Kupang City stated that after revising the mechanism of side-dish money distribution, it was discovered that the number of refugees in Kupang has decreased. During the distribution of the side dish money, many refugees produced refugees' identity cards of those who have already returned, this made the number of refugees in Kupang seem high. The mechanism of side dish money distribution has been revised to prevent this.

RT: Bishop of Baucau, Mgr. Basilio do Nascimento, pr, together with six traditional leaders (Tokoh adat) from East Timor will initiate the reconciliation process by visiting the refugees sheltering in West Timor by the end of May. The bishop and the traditional leaders will try to implement the customs and cultural approaches in a bid towards true reconciliation among the East Timorese.

1st May

SP: The central government and the registration committee are said to hold a coordination meeting in May with UNTAS, and community and religious leaders in West Timor for registration preparations. The registration, initially to be held on 21st of May, will be delayed until early June 2001. Public Relation Coordinator of Refugees' Affairs, Paul Amalo stated that the coordination meeting would aim to discuss preparation. The meeting is scheduled to be convened in Kupang on 5th of May.

RT: After the truce agreement between the conflicting group of youths at Noelbaki Camp Kupang on Friday (27/04), a recent fighting occurred on Monday (30/4) at about 10.50 am. Ironically, the fighting occurred at the Police Base Kupang (Mapolres). The incident occurred when a number of youths were sitting at the area around the police base waiting for their turn to be questioned as witnesses of the previous clash. Suddenly, Manuel Ximenes, a youth from the opposing group was seen passing by the police compound. After questioning Ximenes' presence at the police base, the attacks began on Ximenes. Separately, locals of Noelbaki Village went to legislative assembly of NTT demanding the government to be more serious in handling the refugees' problem. They are concerned with the security situation in their village following the recent clash at the camp. The locals complained of the disturbances caused by the refugees for the last two years since they first arrived to take shelter in their village.

RT: UNTAS secretary of Belu, Mateus BC Guides said yesterday that the executives of UNTAS Belu have agreed not to participate in the local registration of refugees in Belu to be conducted by the local government. The local registration is considered a waste of time and resources. UNTAS will only participate in the registration of refugees to be conducted by the central government.

RT: As proof that TNI has a sound relationship with UNPKF, the latter will be invited to attend a hand-over ceremony of Tribudi 3 Infantry Brigade Commander in Atambua this Thursday (3/5). Commander of Borderline Security Taskforce, Col. Irwan Kusnadi said this yesterday informing that Brig. Gen. Ken Gillespie of UNPKF had expressed his willingness to attend the ceremony.

PK: Police of Atambua have reportedly detained nine suspects, East Timor refugees, for vandalising two public transports in Atambua yesterday. The refugees were drunk and vandalised two public transports owned by other East Timorese. The incident almost turned worse but the police were quick to restore order.

PK: Indonesian Consulate in Dili East Timor will begin collecting data of assets either owned by State Owned Companies or individual Indonesians' asset left after the votes on 30th August 1999. The future of the assets will be discussed further in a bilateral forum between Indonesian government and East Timor after the new country establishes a definitive government. Secretary of the Consulate in Dili, Sigit Wardono told Pos Kupang, in Dili last Friday.

PK: Former Head of Social Office of NTT, BS, is likely to become the suspect for abuse of refugees' fund during his time in the office. Head of Supreme Court of NTT, Sudhono Iswahyudi, SH, through his public relation officer, revealed this on Saturday (28/4). BS is allegedly involved in the financial scandals relating to refugees' side-dish money, refugees' identity card procurement, and rice transporting fund.

NTTX: A joint team of TNI and Polri has successfully managed to apprehend a former pro-integration fighter, JC, allegedly involved in torture and house burnings in Belu in September 2000. The former commander of Sector C pro-integration force was captured in his residence in Halilulik on Friday night (27/04), said Kapolres Belu, Ajun Chief Commr. Nender Yani yesterday in Atambua.

ST: Hundreds of refugees went to the government of TTU regency yesterday questioning the delivery of aid. The refugees demanded the government to distribute the aid soon.

2nd May

SP: Refugees from Tuapukan Camp in Kupang regency question about the different amount of aid received by refugees sheltering in Kupang City. The coordinator of refugees in Tupukan Camp, Cornelio Riberu informed that the refugees sheltering in Kupang regency received Rp.90.000 aid per month while the refugees in Kupang city only received half of the amount per month. The refugees considered that the six refugee delegates to Jakarta failed in struggling for the equal distribution of aid for all the refugees in West Timor.

SP: Government of East Nusa Tenggara considered the Timor Gap treaty among the Australian, Indonesian and Timor Leste governments is yet to be final. As of now, the three governments have yet to compromise the status of Timor Gap, said Assistant I of District Secretary, Drs. Djidon De Haan on Monday (30/4). He added that UNTAET is a transitional government in East Timor therefore could not represent the new country in the treaty talk. Haan asserted that Indonesia has the right to exploit the Timor Gap because it is within Indonesian territory. However, he added, regarding this, Indonesia still needs international admittance of the territory.

NTT X: Defence attach‚ of the Australian Government in Indonesia, Col. Neil Thompson, accompanied by his staff, Mrs. Ruth Stone, has offered help to the Indonesian Government through the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Drs. Piet A. Tallo in Kupang, yesterday (1/5). The attach‚ revealed the willingness of the Australian government to help the provincial government of NTT to repatriate the remaining refugees taking shelter in West Timor. He also informed the plan of his visit to a number of regencies in West Timor; North Central Timor (TTU) and Belu regencies. Several other topics were also discussed during the meeting such as registration, repatriation and security situation around the areas in West Timor. The Governor indicated the complexity of efforts in handling the refugees pointing out the unresolved problems of refugees in a number of countries in the world.

3rd May

RT: Head of Social Office (Dinsos) of NTT dr. Husein Pancratius was concerned with the increasing numbers of refugees' in several regencies in the province. He urged the regents of the respected regencies to clarify the increasing numbers. The clarification should be in the form of concrete data that could later be conveyed to the central government. This is needed by the central government to make a plan for distribution of aid to the refugees. The Regent of Belu, has reportedly stated that the number of refugees in his regency have increased by 400%.

RT: The rice aid for the refugees (in its fifth phase) is ready to be distributed starting next week. Each refugee will receive three kilograms of rice. Initially the total amount of distributed rice will be 763.48 tonnes allocated for 37,142 heads of households, but only 696.21 tonnes will be distributed to match with the number of refugees in the regency that each will get three kilograms of rice. The balance of rice aid (67.37 tonnes) will be distributed in the next distribution phase. Head of Social Division of District Secretary of Belu (Setkab), Untung, BA said this yesterday in Atambua.

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