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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 2, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Jakarta Post - August 2, 1999

Jakarta – Officials in Banda Aceh have raised concerns over the deteriorating conditions among refugees which have reached some 140,000 people in Pidie, North Aceh and East Aceh. Aceh's secretary to the governor, Sofyan Muchtar, told Antara on Saturday, "Their health is getting worse due to inadequate sanitary facilities and lack of clean water."

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - August 2, 1999

Dili – The United Nations Monday declared the registration process for East Timor's August 30 ballot on independence a success, saying it had already registered almost all the expected voters.

News ›› West Papua ›› Protests & Popular Resistance
Agence France Presse - August 2, 1999

Jakarta – Some 5,000 people in the remote Indonesian province of Irian Jaya held a peaceful rally Monday to call for an independent Melanesian state, witnesses said.

The protestors, many holding bibles, marched through the town of Timika singing hymns and later headed to the office of the Mimika regent to convey their demands, one witness said by phone.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
The Guardian (UK) - August 2, 1999

John Aglionby, Medan – Dozens of uncontrolled forest fires are breaking out every day across western Indonesia, blanketing much of south-east Asia in a polluted haze and raising fears that there could be a repeat of the smog crisis of two years ago.

News ›› East Timor ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
The Irish Times - August 2, 1999

Tjitschke Linksma looks at the plight of East Timor refugees after travelling with a UN convoy which brought one group their first consignment of aid in weeks.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Joyo Indonesian News - August 2, 1999

[The following is an excerpt from the July 29 speach by Megawati Soekarnoputri "The People's Victory in the Election of 1999" on the issue of the East Timor ballot.]

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Agence France Presse - August 2, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – A total of 7,000 troops will launch an operation to hunt down separatist rebels in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province, the chief of the Aceh police said in a report Monday.

August 1, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
South China Morning Post - August 1, 1999

Vaudine England – Getting a small box of books out of the cargo office at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport was how one friend learned about corruption in Indonesia.

As soon as she got out of her taxi near the warehouse, the touts arrived, waving cardboard folders that carried all the documents she required, insisting she pay for their help.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - August 1, 1999 (abridged)

Dili – Two gunmen, reportedly members of the pro-Indonesia militia, shot dead a man in East Timor on Sunday, prompting an angry crowd to set fire to the house of a known militia member.

Angelino Amaral, 24, was shot in the street not far from his home in the Taibesi district of the territory's capital Dili before dawn following a traffic accident, witnesses said.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Reuters - August 1, 1999

Banda Aceh – Police in violence torn Aceh province have found 15 more bodies dumped in ravines near the site of a recent massacre, bringing the death toll to 71, police sources and residents said on Sunday.

The bodies were found on Saturday in western Aceh's Alur Baru village, about two km from a village where dozens of people were gunned down last Monday.

July 31, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› Independence & Reconstruction
The Age - July 31, 1999 (abridged)

Mark Riley, New York – The United Nations is drafting plans for an administration to rule East Timor for up to four years if, as expected, the territory votes to break away from Indonesia.

July 30, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Indonesian Observer - July 30, 1999

Jakarta – About 80 workers, representing thousands of fellow workers at PT Tripatra Caltex Pacific, in the Sumatra province of Riau, yesterday reported a string of military cruelties to the House of Representatives (DPR).

They said, military personnel has shot workers at two separate demonstrations, on July 15th and 23rd, causing dozens of workers to be injured.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Agence France Presse - July 30, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Residents in the troubled western province of Aceh have dug up 51 bodies of civilians killed by Indonesian trooops last week for allegedly possessing illegal arms, a report said Friday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Suharto & New Order Regime
Agence France Presse - July 30, 1999

Jakarta – Former Indonesian president Suharto was discharged from hospital and returned home Friday after 10 days of treatment for a minor stroke, witnesses said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - July 30, 1999

Tim Johnston, Dili – Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Friday the opposing factions in East Timor should share power after the August 30 ballot on independence.

But Downer, in the East Timor capital for a 24-hour visit, said there were "enormous risks ahead" before, during and after the UN-run ballot.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Straits Times - July 30, 1999

Geraldine Yeo and Yeoh En-lai – Bustling Batam became a ghost-town yesterday as residents stayed indoors and shops stayed shut after at least nine people died in ethnic clashes that started over the weekend.

July 29, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - July 29, 1999

Dili – The arrest of a gun-toting militia member at a United Nations registration post Thursday was the latest in a series of violent incidents in this Indonesian-ruled territory this week.

"There just seems to be a general upsurge of activity over the last four days," a well-informed local source said.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
American Reporter - July 29, 1999

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian presidential front-runner Megawati Sukarnoputri broke her long silence after winning the parliamentary elections here and spoke for 80 minutes Thursday in a speech that answered critics on issues ranging from Islamic law to separatist movements in East Timor, Irian Jaya, Maluku and Aceh.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
Agence France Presse - July 29, 1999

Singapore – Singapore was enveloped Thursday by haze from raging plantation fires largely in the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the meteorological service department said. It said the hazy conditions were expected to prevail over the next two days.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
South China Morning Post - July 29, 1999

Vaudine England, Jakarta - Efforts by the Muslim-based political parties to offer a new presidential candidate are gathering steam, partly to avoid having a woman in the top job and partly to avoid what Muslim leaders label a "polarisation" of society.

News ›› Aceh ›› Analysis & Opinion
Far Eastern Economic Review - July 29, 1999

Rebellion is seriously brewing in Aceh province. With an overseas arms supply, substantial funding and popular support, the Aceh Merdeka movement could pose a threat much worse than East Timor's separatist struggle.

By John McBeth in Jakarta, Syamsul Indrapatra in Banda Aceh, Nate Thayer in Bangkok and Bertil Lintner in Stockholm

July 28, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - July 28, 1999

Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Indonesia is strongly resisting United Nations pressure to further delay a ballot to decide the future of East Timor after boosting the number of police in the territory to 8,000.

News ›› East Timor ›› Criminal Justice & Legal System
The Australian - July 28, 1999

Jacinto Alves spent seven years in prison for organising a peaceful demonstration at the funeral of a separatist sympathiser in Dili in 1991. Indonesian troops opened fire on the crowd of East Timorese, killing between 100 and 180 people in the bloodbath that became known as the Dili massacre.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - July 28, 1999

Craig Skehan, Singapore – Australia is urging Indonesia and the United Nations to consider upgrading security in East Timor in case violence worsens after next month's planned self-determination ballot.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Reuters - July 28, 1999

Ambon – Clashes between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia's troubled Ambon island killed 24 people, hospital sources said Wednesday.

They died in fighting between late Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, the hospital sources said, adding that most died of gunshot wounds. It brings the number killed in fighting there this week to at least 34.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Aceh Forum - July 28, 1999 (abridged)

More than 100 military personnel from (TNI-AD; Indonesian Armed Forces) commanded by BKO (Operational Unit) of Korem 011/Liliwangsa, composed of Yonif 131 and 133 and backed by one platoon from Battalion 328 Kostrad, commanded by Intel Korem 011/Liliwangsa, LetKol Inf Sudjono, in initial report have massacred more than 39 civilian in the valley of Singgah Mata, Blang Merandeh villag

News ›› Indonesia ›› Humanitarian Aid & Reconstruction
Reuters - July 28, 1999

Paris – Jakarta secured a pledge of $5.9 billion in foreign aid on Wednesday, despite demands from human rights groups that cash be held off pending a vote on self rule for the East Timor territory which Indonesia invaded in 1975.

July 27, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Detikcom - July 27, 1999 (summarised)

Sigit Widodo and Andrea, Jakarta – Around two thousand people demonstrated at the National Election Commission (KPU) offices bringing the traffic on Jalan Imam Bonjol to a complete stop.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Wall Street Journal - July 27, 1999

Jeremy Wagstaff and Puspa Madani, Jakarta – More than half of Indonesia's political parties – all but one of them without a seat – have refused to ratify last month's election, citing allegations of fraud. While delaying by at least a week official release of the results, the setback, analysts and politicians say, isn't likely to do any lasting damage to the political process.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - July 27, 1999

Mark Dodd, Dili – An attack against the United Nations office in the East Timorese town of Maliana last month was organised by a shadowy network of militia and army officers, according to information received by the Herald.

July 26, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Business Week - July 26, 1999

Army chief Wiranto has brokered a deal to end the impasse. It means Megawati's in, Habibie's out – and Wiranto is in charge

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
Business Week - July 26, 1999

Michael Shari, Jakarta – Eko S. Budianto, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), thought there was something fishy about the small group of Western and Indonesian visitors from a foreign hedge fund who walked into his Jakarta office recently. He had never heard of the fund, which had an acronym for a name and was registered in a Caribbean tax haven.

July 25, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
The Nation (Bangkok) - July 25, 1999

Yindee Lertcharoenchok – After the first ever face-to-face talks, representatives of the Free Aceh movement and a government-sanctioned Acehnese delegation yesterday expressed hope that both sides could strike an agreement, as early as next week, to end the violence in one of Indonesia's worst strife-torn provinces.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - July 25, 1999

Ati Nurbaiti and Santi W.E. Soekanto, Jakarta – Fifteen-year-old Ranti wept with pain when an elderly man deflowered her at a brothel in Jakarta, but she managed to stop crying upon being told he would pay her Rp 700,000 (US$106).

July 24, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Indonesian Observer - July 24, 1999

Semarang – The long standing economic crisis in Indonesia since July 1997 has affected the lives of children nation wide, evidenced by the fact that around 10 million of them are suffering from malnutrition.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Straits Times - July 24 1999

Marianne Kearney, Dili – Armed militiamen in Maubisse, 70 km south of here, are patrolling the streets and threatening villagers with death if they vote for independence.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Sydney Morning Herald - July 24, 1999

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri has launched a scathing attack on President B.J. Habibie, accusing him of being blinded by greed and trying to cling to power without listening to the Indonesian people.

July 23, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Jakarta Post - July 23, 1999

Jakarta – Minister of Justice/State Secretary Muladi ruled out on Thursday the possibility of holding a dialog with the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), saying it was not a legal organization.

News ›› Indonesia ›› National Security & Intelligence
Jakarta Post - July 23, 1999

Jakarta – The Independent Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) joined other observers on Thursday in denouncing the newly submitted bill on state security, which it said would kill democracy in the country.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - July 23, 1999

Jakarta – Experts are concerned by the increasing number of child prostitutes to be found on almost all major streets of Surabaya, the country's second largest city.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
World Socialist - July 23, 1999

Mike Head – The United States and the World Bank have both threatened Indonesia with diplomatic and financial retaliation if the Jakarta regime continues to support militia attacks on people in East Timor, in the lead-up to next month's scheduled UN-supervised ballot on autonomy or secession.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Suharto & New Order Regime
Agence France Presse - July 23, 1999

Jakarta – An Indonesian stringer for the US magazine Time on Friday answered a police summons in connection with a Time article which alleged the family of former Indonesian president Suharto was sitting on a 15-billion dollar fortune.

July 22, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Jakarta Post - July 22, 1999

Jakarta – Abdurrahman Wahid came up on Wednesday with yet another surprising move when he praised President B.J. Habibie – whom he had often criticized for his links to Golkar and the past regime – as amenable to change and as less conservative than many people thought.

News ›› Aceh ›› Armed Forces & Military Operations
Sydney Morning Herald - July 22, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian military, hit by rising losses in Aceh province, has dispatched a battalion of marines to reinforce units battling separatist rebels, the official Antara news agency said yesterday.

July 21, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Indonesian Observer - July 21, 1999

Jakarta – Around 2,000 workers staged a demonstration at the Manpower Ministry, demanding the government revoke its labor regulations deemed detrimental to them.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - July 21, 1999

Jakarta – An aunt of a man injured in the Semanggi incident, a relative of a missing person and a friend of a Trisakti University student who was shot dead have established a group for victims of state violence.

State Violence Victims Solidarity (SKKN), announced on Tuesday, groups relatives and friends from several cases.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Suharto & New Order Regime
Jakarta Post - July 21, 1999

Jakarta – Speculation was rife on Tuesday over the health of former president Soeharto after he was rushed to the Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta.

Hospital officials and his family were quick to play down the significance of the visit, stating that the 78-year-old was merely undergoing a routine medical check up.

News ›› East Timor ›› Banking & Finance
Reuters - July 21, 1999

Jakarta – The World Bank said on Wednesday international donors to Indonesia would be closely watching the situation in disputed East Timor and could change their stance if a UN-supervised independence ballot was disrupted.

July 20, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - July 20, 1999

Dili – The intimidation of voters is rampant in East Timor and there has been no significant improvement in security, the independent Carter Center poll monitoring organization said Tuesday.

"An atmosphere of violence, intimidation and insecurity continues to pervade most areas of East Timor," the center said in its first report on the East Timor situation.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Straits Times - July 20 1999

Susan Sim, Jakarta – Indonesia's top generals are laughing off a report in an international magazine which alleged that they had cut a deal to support opposition leader Megawati Soekarnoputri for the presidency.