Subject: Military, Police Called to Be on New Year's Alert


December 28, 2003 11:49pm Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Dec 28 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian military and police commissioned on the border shared by East Nusa Tenggara province and East Timor have been called on to stay alert against possible smuggling of basic necessities to the nascent state on the occasion of New Year.

"Usually close to New Year, demand for basic necessities will rise and there may be an increase in smuggling activities through the East Nusa Tenggara-East Timor border," Deputy Chairman of the Belu district legislative council, Blasius Joseph Manek, said here Sunday.

Blasius made the remark in view of the situation in the border areas where a number of market places had been closed following the shooting of Vegas Biliato (an ex-East Timorese) on October 19, 2003.

According to Blasius, basic necessities might have been smuggled from Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province to East Timor before Christmas Day on December 25, 2003, and such criminal activity might continue toward New Year 2004.

"East Timorese living in areas near the borderline like Balibo, Maliana, Lebos, Salele and Tilomar, used to get their basic necessities from markets on the border areas. Now the closure of the markets has triggered smuggling activities as the demand for basic nacessities has increased," he said.

Blasius suggested the Indonesian military and police personnel assigned on the border areas to tighten control, particularly on illegal trade activities.

He reminded that the tolerance given to illegal traders engaged in small-scale smuggling of basic necessities could be an early support for greater scale smuggling activities.

Blasius said his side would establish coordination with Chief of the Belu district police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Nugroho, Chief of the Belu district military command Lt Col Ganip Warsito and Chief of the Security Task Force on the East Nusa Tenggara-East Timor border Col Djoko Setiono in taking precautionary measures against smuggling activities.

Such measures should be taken as those who are in need of basic neccesities on the occasion of New Year are not only East Timorese but Belu residents as well, he said.

"I also call on the authorities in Belu not to raise prices of basic necessities and hope that basic necessities are not smuggled to East Timor," he said.

East Timor, a former Indonesian province, officially seceded from the archipelagic country in October, 1999, as a consequence of the pro-independence camp's victory in the United Nations-organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.

The territory integrated into Indonesia in 1976 but the United Nations never recognized the integration process.


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