Jakarta – The United Nations has endorsed the setting up of a special council to oversee the disputed region of East Timor after it holds an August 30 ballot on independence, a top UN official said on Friday.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
August 13, 1999
New York – The International Monetary Fund Friday issued a blunt warning to the Indonesian government to quickly get to the bottom of a scandal involving PT Bank Bali and a senior official of the ruling Golkar party.
Canberra – Australia said on Friday it appeared the Indonesian military was becoming less involved with East Timor's pro-Jakarta militias, accused by the United States of intimidation ahead of an August independence ballot.
Mark Dodd, Dili – Two students were killed after an attack by pro-Indonesian militia on Wednesday which has raised serious questions about the impartiality of local police in the lead-up to the ballot on East Timor's future.
August 12, 1999
Ambon – Indonesian soldiers opened fire on a church in the ravaged island of Ambon killing 24 people, the priest who buried most of the dead told Reuters Thursday.
Hong Kong – The Review has obtained a confidential report prepared for the central bank by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. that shows Bank Indonesia bent its own rules to save seven institutions earlier this year. The most prominent is Bank Nusa Nasional, owned by the family of influential businessman Aburizal Bakrie, a member of Habibie's board of economic advisers.
August 10, 1999
Canberra – The United States denied a newspaper report Tuesday that it told Australian defense strategists in June it would consider deploying up to 15,000 troops to East Timor if bloodshed escalated there.
Dili – Indonesian opposition leader and presidential front-runner Megawati Sukarnoputri on Tuesday appealed to supporters in East Timor to vote for autonomy rather than independence in the territory's August 30 referendum.
Jakarta – Amien Rais praised Abdurrahman Wahid for the latter's willingness to be presidential candidate of the new political alliance that Amien forged, called "the axis force," and said the assent was a boost to democratization.
Jayapura – Members of the National Commission on Human Rights concluded from their visit here saying that the Irianese lived in fear.
Sydney – Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was accused Tuesday of deceit after being forced to admit he was wrong to deny that US officials had suggested Australian participation in a peacekeeping force for East Timor.
Jakarta – A group of around 200 students rallied outside the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Monday, demanding the disbandment of its Team of 15, whose members have been suspected of abusing their authority in the selection of interest group representatives for the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).
Susan Sim, Banda Aceh – Pressure is mounting on Jakarta to hold peace talks with a belligerent separatist group it is trying to crush and make a policy shift that could amount to an admission that it has lost political and moral authority in the country's westernmost province.
Paul Daley, Canberra – American military officials told Australian defence strategists in June that the US would consider deploying up to 15,000 troops to East Timor, if bloodshed dramatically escalated in the troubled Indonesian province.
Ambon – Muslim and Christian mobs fought street battles in eastern Indonesia, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 120, police and hospital workers said today. Riot police shot and killed some people, witnesses said. Mobs stabbed or beat others.
August 9, 1999
Manila – Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Monday called "a myth" statements by East Timor's resistance leaders that the territory would vote overwhelmingly for independence if this month's ballot on self-rule was free.
Jakarta – At least 20 people have been killed in new unrest in Indonesia's bloodied Aceh province, including 14 civilians blasted to death by grenades, separatist rebels and human rights groups said Monday.
Jakarta – At least 10 hot spots, spread across five regencies, have been pinpointed in South Kalimantan since the end of July.
Madjedi, the head of the Environment Impact Management Body in South Kalimantan, told Antara on Sunday the sites were in Banjar Barat in Banjarmasin, Sungai Pinang in Banjar regency, Tabukan and Kuripan districts in Barito Kuala regency.
Dili – Representatives from East Timor's rival political factions on Monday agreed to commit themselves and their supporters to a peaceful referendum campaign in the lead-up to a self-determination ballot scheduled for August 30.
Susan Sim, Pidie – Village chief Idris Yahya started packing when he heard the machine-gun fire early Friday morning. PPRM riot troops were in the vicinity and that meant one thing: It was no longer safe to stay in Keumala.
Susan Sim, Banda Aceh – One year after the Indonesian military apologised for past abuses and pledged to withdraw troops, a humanitarian crisis is brewing in Aceh as a renewed crackdown on armed insurgents creates a growing refugee problem, social activists here warn.
Jakarta – Hundreds of Confucians gave orchids to Indonesian riot police, burnt incense and chanted prayers on Monday to demand the government officially recognise their religion.
The 200 ethnic Chinese protesters gathered outside the office of Indonesia's General Election Commission to demand parliamentary seats to represent their community.
August 8, 1999
Jakarta – Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province on Monday denied charges by human rights watchdog Amnesty International that they were executing military informers.
Jakarta – About 3,000 civilians have been roped in to help put out forest fires in the Indonesian province of Riau which have caused pollution to hit hazardous levels and the authorities to close kindergartens and put clinics on 24-hour standby.
August 7, 1999
David Shanks – The Indonesian military is "openly and clearly distributing guns in the eastern towns of Baucau, Laga and other places. They are turning Timorese against Timorese. It is like hell," the Nobel laureate, Bishop Carlos Ximines Belo, said yesterday.
Prapan Chankaew, Dili – Indonesian ministers insisted during a visit to East Timor on Saturday that Jakarta could ensure security despite attacks on UN staff and fears of chaos after an August 30 independence ballot.
Jakarta – An Indonesian rights watchdog group has said 82 people were killed, four were missing and 141 injured in recent days of Moslem-Christian violence in riot-torn Ambon, a report said Saturday.
Mark Riley, New York – The United Nations plans to withdraw completely from East Timor if the territory threatens to dissolve into civil war after this month's autonomy ballot.
This would leave the Indonesian Army in control of the region, irrespective of whether the people vote for independence or to become an autonomous state within Indonesia.
Jakarta – Indonesian police on Saturday baton-charged hundreds of students protesting during President B.J. Habibie's visit to West Java and injured seven, witnesses said.
August 6, 1999
Jakarta – Indonesian police early Friday removed nine Acehnese protesters from the grounds of the Netherlands embassy here, where they had been camped for more than 36 hours, one of the protestors said.
Vaudine England, Dili – Pressure to increase the number of UN civilian police officers is increasing in the wake of persistent reports of pro-integration militias preparing for conflict.
A meeting of top military, police, pro-autonomy and paramilitary leaders, in East Timor, has planned a guerrilla war if the autonomy plan is rejected at the vote on the territory's future on Aug 30. Also the miltias have been instructed to use violent means to disrupt voting, with the help of the Indonesian military (TNI) and the police.
Jakarta – Pro-Indonesia East Timorese militia on Friday attacked a group of students in a church in the township of Same, injuring one of them seriously, a foreign observer group said.
Lindsay Murdoch in Dili and Malcolm Brown – An American doctor credited with saving the lives of scores of East Timorese attacked by pro-Jakarta militias in Dili has been refused entry to Indonesia and put on a flight to Darwin.
August 5, 1999
Banda Aceh – Separatist rebels in Aceh threatened Thursday to blow up a valuable natural gas refinery if Indonesia didn't withdraw troops from the strife-torn province.
Jakarta – Aceh is to Indonesia what Georgia is to the United States – an integral part of the country. East Timor, by comparison, is like what Puerto Rico is to America, a territory.
Jakarta – Some 42,300 troops and 11,000 civilian auxiliaries will be deployed to guard the first session of Indonesia's new national assembly in October, reports said Thursday.
The new People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), the country's highest lawmaking body, reconstituted by the June 7 elections, will meet on October 1 and then elect a president in November.
Jakarta – A general strike to protest military violence entered a second day Thursday in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province, leaving cities and towns deserted, residents said.
Jakarta – Thousands of indigenous villagers in the Irian Jaya town of Timika on Thursday protested against Indonesia's plans to carve the remote province into three parts, resident sources said. Police, however, put the number of protesters at about 100.
Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's two main opposition parties have agreed to join forces in local-level politics, cementing an alliance that opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri hopes will carry her to the presidency in November.
Jakarta – The government says an estimated 470,000 refugees are now sheltering in the South Sulawesi capital of Ujungpandang after fleeing unrest in the troubled provinces of Maluku, East Timor, Aceh and Irian Jaya.
Jakarta – Amnesty International on Wednesday accused the Indonesian Military (TNI) of rampant violence in Aceh and said that deploying more troops in the province would only worsen the situation.
Sander Thoenes, Jakarta – Police launched a crack-down on separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh yesterday, just as a general strike there highlighted growing support for secession.
August 4, 1999
Jakarta – The Indonesian government needs to act soon to stop forest fires spiralling out of control in a repeat of the widespread disaster in 1997, the country's leading environmental watchdog WALHI warned Wednesday.
August 3, 1999
John Martinkus, East Timor – They came in a snaking line across the high mountain pass. Exhausted but laughing, relieved to be at the end of a harrowing 20 kilometre walk.
[The following Memo was prepared by Tapol to reveal how the British Government continues to trot out totally misleading statements about the use of Hawk aircraft in East Timor.]
Washington – The United States on Tuesday called for the quick selection of a new Indonesian president following the validation of last month's election results which show the opposition party of Megawati Sukarnoputri beating the ruling party of current President B.J. Habibie.
Dili – The Indonesian military continues to support militias that are harassing and intimidating East Timorese ahead of an independence vote, an agency headed by former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.
August 2, 1999
Gwen Robinson, Sydney – The Australian government has stepped up its diplomatic involvement in the politically troubled regions of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, following visits by top officials to East Timor and PNG in the past few days.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Comments by armed forces chief and Defence Minister General Wiranto since opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri's dramatic political speech suggest he is a vital kingmaker in the months of politicking ahead – but one whose loyalty remains to the armed forces.