Subject: AN: Soldiers to be deployed to Batek Island

[Note: East Timor claims the Batek island which the it calls Fatu Sinai.]

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Antara, February 16, 2004

Soldiers to be deployed to Batek Island

MATARAM, West Nusa Tenggara: The Indonesian military will deploy soldiers to Batek Island in neighboring East Nusa Tenggara province, which borders East Timor, a senior officer said on Monday.

"So far we have not stationed any soldiers on the island because there have been no serious threats," Udayana Military Commander, Maj. Gen. Supiadin AS, said.

The Denpasar-based military command oversees Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara provinces.

There have been concerns that East Timor would plunge into chaos following the withdrawal of the United Nations mission there scheduled for May 20, leading to refugees flowing into East Nusa Tenggara province which shares a land border with the former Portuguese colony.

East Timorese refugees flocked to Indonesia soon after civil war broke out in East Timor following Portugal's exit.

Supiadin, however, admitted that military presence was important on islands bordering neighboring countries.

Currently there is a lighthouse on Batek Island sporting the red-and-white Indonesian flag.

"We also suspect that there are black market activities on the island related to East Timor," said Supiadin on the necessity of deploying troops to Batek Island.

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