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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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January 9, 2000

Los Angeles Times - January 9, 2000

David Lamb, Banda Aceh – Emboldened by East Timor's breakaway, the people of Aceh have embarked on a dangerous journey that could determine the fate of Indonesia itself. It is a passage, born of the collective memory of military abuses and broken promises, that is leading this bloodied province to one of three extremes: war, autonomy or independence.

January 8, 2000

South China Morning Post - January 8, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Nancy-Amelia Collins and Agencies in Jakarta – Tens of thousands of Muslims demonstrated in Jakarta yesterday to demand a holy war against Christians in the violence-torn Maluku Islands.

January 7, 2000

Reuters - January 7, 2000

Retno Heriwati, Sumberkerto – Deep in the remote jungles of Indonesia's East Java a mysterious spate of ninja-style murders has prompted a local Moslem group to take the law into its own hands.

Business Times (Singapore) - January 7, 2000

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – Whichever way one looks at the issue, Indonesia's new leadership is in no-man's land when trying to deal with the massive energy and gas contracts endorsed by the former Suharto government.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - January 7, 2000

Annie White: A top East Timorese official has accused Australian aid groups and businesses of profiteering in East Timor. The secretary-general of Timor's socialist party Avelino De Silva sits alongside Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta at the National Consultative Council, Timor's de facto government.

Australian Financial Review - January 7, 2000

Tim Dodd, Jakarta – Mr Soeharto's son-in-law and former army general Mr Prabowo Subianto has returned to Indonesia openly for the first time since he left Indonesia in disgrace in 1998.

East Timor International Support Centre - January 7, 2000

Sam de Silva, Dili – About 400 people marched Wednesday from the office of protest organsier, the Socialist Party of Timor (PST) to the gates of the UNTAET headquarters to protest for the rights of the East Timorese people. The PST are linked to and supported by the Australian-based Democratic Socialist Party.

Reuters - January 7, 2000

Joanne Collins, Dili – East Timor is likely to count Indonesia, its old and often brutal master, as its top trade partner as the devastated fledgling nation strives to rebuild, the United Nations and World Bank say.

January 6, 2000

South China Morning Post - January 6, 2000

Agencies in Jakarta and Ambon – Muslim students yesterday threatened a holy war against Christians unless the Government stems sectarian clashes in the eastern Maluku islands that have left more than 700 dead in two weeks.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 6, 2000

Jakarta – The Indonesian Government's internal auditor has accused former President Soeharto and other government officials of receiving bribes from a consortium run by United States and Japanese companies to allow the construction of a power plant at an inflated cost.

Australian Financial Review - January 6, 2000

Tim Dodd, Jakarta – How long can the general stay on top? From the Soeharto era, which ended in May 1998, through to the beginning of the Wahid presidency, General Wiranto is the only one of Indonesia's political players to continuously maintain a senior role in the Indonesian Government.

Associated Press - January 6, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Dili – In the first serious protest against the UN administration running East Timor, some 200 unemployed laborers demonstrated Wednesday against the use of Indonesian workers by companies contracted by the world body.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2000

Jakarta – Some 600 students grouped in the Indonesian Muslim Student Action Union (KAMMI) protested outside the vice presidential palace on Wednesday, demanding Megawati Soekarnoputri be held responsible for the prolonged sectarian unrest in Maluku.

They accused the Vice President of being sluggish in her attempts to solve the strife which began a year ago.

Agence France Presse - January 6, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – A local Muslim group has accused an Australian gold mining company of involvement in the Muslim-Christian bloodshed in eastern Indonesia's North Maluku islands, the state Antara news agency said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - January 6, 2000

Singapore – A noted Southeast Asian political scientist warned Thursday that Indonesia's military may overthrow the democratically-elected government of President Abdurrahman Wahid if he stumbled on the future of strife-torn Aceh province.

Asia Pulse - January 6, 2000

Jakarta – The country's property sector is predicted to show a healthy growth in 2001 if the economy continues to be on the right track to recovery.

Property observer Panangian Simanjutak said the property sector would grow 4.5% this year and 7% in 2001. Last year the sector still suffer a contraction of 10%.

Indonesian Observer - January 6, 2000

Jakarta – Human rights activists have slammed the latest testimony made by Major General Zacky Anwar Makarim on the violence that destroyed about 70% of East Timor's infrastructure last year after the territory in August voted overwhelmingly to split from Indonesia.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2000

Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid installed on Wednesday two veteran government critics, who are also close associates of his, as top aides, amid mounting criticism of the effectiveness of his government.

Abdurrahman installed Marsilam Simajuntak as Cabinet secretary and Bondan Gunawan as secretary of government supervision in a brief ceremony at the State Palace.

January 5, 2000

International Herald Tribune - January 5, 2000

Keith B. Richburg, Dili – At one of the two new floating hotels in Dili last week, it was standing room only at the upper-deck bar.

South China Morning Post - January 5, 2000

Agencies in Jakarta and Dili – A senior Indonesian army general admitted yesterday that pro-Jakarta militias and some disgruntled Indonesian soldiers had committed murder and arson in East Timor.

January 4, 2000

Jakarta Post - January 4, 2000

Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) top brass tend to blame lower-ranking officers for the mayhem in the ravaged territory of East Timor after the August 30 self-determination ballot, a member of the government-sanctioned inquiry team said on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press - January 4, 2000

John Martinkus, Memo – Local residents here on the East-West Timor border remain terrified of an Indonesian attack following this week's shooting incident between Indonesian troops and Australian Interfet soldiers.

Los Angeles Times - January 4, 2000

David Lamb – After more than 50 years of unchecked power and widespread human rights abuse, the Indonesian military suddenly finds itself humiliated and on the defensive, besieged by a wrathful public demanding accountability for past misdeeds.

January 3, 2000

Agence France Presse - January 3, 2000

Jakarta – The military in Indonesia's Maluku islands, where more than 300 people have died in the past two weeks, has begun seizing weapons and arresting suspects in a fresh bid to pacify warring Muslims and Christians.

"The operation to seize weapons is continuing," Second Private Abidin of the Maluku military command told AFP on Monday from the main city of Ambon.

January 1, 2000

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner - January 2000

[Source: Sydney Morning Herald - January 2, 2000]

Table of contents

Introduction

General background

International Commission of Inquiry On East Timor

Links Magazine - January 2000

Terry Townsend – The streets of what is left of Dili, the capital of East Timor, were packed on October 31, 1999, as tens of thousands of people joined a procession led by Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo.

Agence France Presse - January 1, 2000

Jakarta – A year of bloody conflict between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia's Maluku islands has left 1,134 killed, and over 2,300 injured, according to security forces.

December 31, 1999

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian security forces killed a suspected separatist rebel and wounded another in the latest armed skirmish in Aceh province, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

The exchange of gunfire between rebels and security forces lasted for 30 minutes on Thursday in the Matangkuli area of North Aceh, the Banda Aceh-based Serambi daily said.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Share prices on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) ended the year with a 70% gain, making the bourse one of the world's best performing markets.

According to data compiled by the Indonesian Capital Market Supervisory Agency (Bapepam), the JSX ranked third among the world's best performing markets in 1999 after South Korea's Seoul and Singapore stock exchanges.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's economy is predicted to grow by between three and four percent in 2000 in a new expansion phase following two years of political, economic and financial turmoil, an official said Friday.

"Economic growth will reach three to four percent in the year 2000," said the head of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), Suwito Sugito.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1999

Dili – East Timor's leader Xanana Gusmao said here Friday that he foresaw the territory obtaining full independence in at most two years – a year less than currently envisaged.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Just two months after taking over the reins of national leadership, observers and opinion polls are already heaping doubt on the leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Makassar – Some 100 protesting students intercepted visiting President Abdurrahman Wahid's entourage on Thursday to demand the government promptly resolve the violence in Ambon.

Dow Jones Newswires - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's trade surplus in November slid 7.8% to $2.35 billion from $2.55 billion in October, raising concerns that it may take some time to revive non-oil exports despite the improved domestic political climate after the October presidential election.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – A former battalion commander in East Timor admitted on Thursday that his troops ambushed two foreign journalists in the territory's capital of Dili on September 21.

Associated Press - December 31, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Dili – East Timor's independence leader Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao said Friday that East Timor will be the first new independent nation of the new millennium, but not with him as president.

Gusmao has been widely regarded as the main contender for the presidency when East Timor, now under UN administration, becomes independent.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Surabaya – A 65-year-old woman became the latest victim of the two-week-old killing spree in the Malang area, which has so far claimed nine lives. Alimah Saniwar was found dead in the wee hours of Wednesday morning at her home in Sumber Runcing village, Pagak district, Malang, some 90 kilometers south of Surabaya.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has arrived in the remote eastern province of Irian Jaya, were calls for independence have been rising, to watch the first local sunrise of 2000, the state Antara news agency said Friday.

Dow Jones Newswires - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's central bank, Bank Indonesia, said early Saturday that it passed the year date change – Y2K – without any computer glitches.

"We have tested connections with all of our branches all over the country and there wasn't any problem," said Brenda Sutrisno, an official with Bank Indonesia.

Dow Jones Newswires - December 31, 1999

I Made Sentana, Jakarta – Indonesia's inflation rate of 2.01% in December was higher than analyst expectations of a 1.62% rate.

However, the December figure isn't raising concerns that price growth will get out of hand again next year like in 1998 when it soared as high as 77.63%.

Washington Post - December 31, 1999

Keith B. Richburg, Tuapukan Refugee Camp – Zelia Soares and her family had decided to go home, to leave this refugee camp in western Timor and take their chances in the newly independent East Timor.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1999

Dili – Several dozen Muslims who fled the recent violence in East Timor returned home to a protest by East Timorese who said they are not welcome, a UN official said Friday.

Jakarta Post - December 31, 1999

Jakarta – At least 265 people have been killed in clashes between Christians and Muslims on Halmahera island in North Maluku over the last three days.

The number of casualties brought the death toll in sporadic communal clashes across the spice islands of Maluku to nearly 330 since the new wave of violence broke out on Sunday, just after a peaceful Christmas.

December 28, 1999

Agence France Presse - December 28, 1999

Jakarta – Jakarta-based thugs are offering large rewards to hunt down and kill suspected black magic warlocks leading to eight horrific deaths so far, security officials alleged in a report Tuesday.

Agence France Presse - December 28, 1999

Jakarta – Muslim-Christian violence raged for the third day running in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon on Tuesday, after claiming at least 33 lives the previous day, residents said.

The sound of gunfire and explosions from grenades and home-made bombs has echoed around the city since dawn, the sources said, adding that a number of buildings were in flames.

Agence France Presse - December 28, 1999

Jakarta – Six men were killed when police opened fire on hundreds of angry fishermen who stormed and burned 10 fish warehouses in the North Sumatra port of Belawan on Tuesday, reports reaching here said.

December 24, 1999

Jakarta Post - December 24, 1999

Yogita Tahil Ramani, Jakarta – Violence in the capital has known no boundaries this year. With vicious murders, countless armed robberies, bomb blasts and gruesome street justice, the year 1999 can be safely declared a year of crime.

Agence France Presse - December 24, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian government will impose import duties of 30 percent on rice and 25 percent on sugar from January 1, reports said Friday.

Agence France Presse - December 24, 1999

Jakarta – Former Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto on Friday told a human rights commission there had been no plan or policy for either a genocide or crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Agence France Presse - December 24, 1999

Jakarta – Efforts to bring to justice those behind the violence in East Timor received a double blow this week with the former armed forces chief rebuffing a domestic inquiry and the government again rejecting an international tribunal.