Catharine Munro Balibo, East Timor – Forensic investigators are looking for the remains of five Western journalists murdered here 25 years ago during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 18, 2000
Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nations has entered talks with senior militia leaders implicated in some of the worst crimes in East Timor last year, but whose return may lead to the repatriation of thousands of refugees.
Robert Go, Jakarta – With President Abdurrahman Wahid breathing down their necks, the Indonesian authorities have stepped up the hunt for former strongman Suharto's youngest son. They plan to seize his properties throughout Jakarta and subpoena his wife to testify on Monday.
Jakarta – The World Bank yesterday expressed opposition to a reported Indonesian plan to raise rice import tariffs, saying such a move would contradict the government's stated "pro-poor" policy.
November 17, 2000
Haidir Anwar Tanjung/BI & GB, Pekanbaru – Up to a hundred people from the village of Okura, Bukit Raya sub-district, Pekanbaru, Riau, have set up makeshift tents at the entrance of PT Surya Inti Fariraya. They are picketing the company in order to receive compensation for land that was forcefully taken from them in 1989.
Tim Dodd, Jakarta – Indonesia will put on trial 22 military and police officers, government officials and militia members accused of human rights violations in East Timor, the Indonesian Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman, said yesterday.
Jakarta – Indonesia's economic woes have hit the country's air force. Limiting the flying hours of jet pilots owing to budget shortages, has been blamed for the spate of jet crashes this year.
Muchus BR/Hendra & GB, Sukoharjo – After two days of fruitless negotiations over an increase to Christmas and Ramadhan Bonuses (THR), hundreds of workers of plastic bag and sack producer PT Sami Surya Indah Plastik, Sukoharjo, Central Java, ultimately occupied the Legislative Council (DPRD). They threatened to remain on strike until their demands are fulfilled.
Iwan Triono/Hendra & GB, Jakarta – The Central Leaders' Committee of the People's Democratic Party (KPP-PRD) denied there has been a split in the party. The PRD maintains there was no break-away faction but rather the sacking of six inactive members who then announced the formation of a new organisation: the Socialist Democratic Association (PDS).
Jakarta – United States Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Gelbard, who has embroiled in a war of words with ministers in the Jakarta government, has returned here with a message that Washington would like to see a stable Indonesia.
Jakarta – The Golkar party, Indonesia's second largest political party, announced yesterday that it would not support calls by certain MPs for President Abdurrahman Wahid to resign.
Jakarta – Renewed clashes between government troops and separatist rebels have left at least five people dead in Indonesia's Aceh province, police and rights workers said Friday.
Supt. Herarus Sumarman, the local police chief, said three people died when guerrillas attacked a police patrol on Wednesday in the west of the province, 1,750 kilometers northwest of Jakarta.
Craig Skehan, Bandar Seri Begawan – Australian Prime Minister John Howard has used talks with Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in a concerted bid to ease tensions over East Timor through active opposition to independence demands in West Papua.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Indonesia is sending 1,300 more combat-ready troops to West Papua as its army chief, General Endriartono Sutarto, warned that secessionist demands could break up the country.
November 16, 2000
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Foreign companies in Indonesia are concerned that neither local nor central governments can control the anger of aggrieved local people, making their investments very risky.
Banda Aceh – The Indonesian government and the separatist Aceh Merdeka movement (GAM) issued a joint call Thursday for restraint to stop the violence in the troubled province of Aceh.
Ben Dolven, Jayapura, Wamena and Timika – No matter where you go in Irian Jaya, it's hard to avoid the signs that this remote province is desperate to break free of Indonesia. Street vendors hawk flags and T-shirts reading "Ballot Yes, Bullet No" in the main square of the capital, Jayapura.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Grassroots anger with international conglomerates' business practices – making millions from people's land while the people themselves remain poor – is causing disruption to companies across Indonesia and millions of dollars worth of losses.
Mark Dodd, Atambua – Ringed with fading yellow police tape, the smashed office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an eerie deserted shell – a house of death.
Makassar – Army Chief Endriartono Sutarto has warned that ongoing calls for secession and independence in some parts of the country could lead to national disintegration.
Chris McCall, Jakarta – Support for independence in troubled Aceh has reached fever pitch and separatists say the campaign's momentum now is almost unstoppable. Indonesia largely has its own security forces to blame, they say.
Joanna Jolly, Atambua – A secret meeting between senior East Timorese militia leaders, United Nations political staff and East Timorese political and military leaders could result in the return home of thousands of East Timorese refugees from camps in Indonesian West Timor.
Rayhan Anas Lubis/Fitri & PT, Banda Aceh – The Greater Aceh Police has released a warrant to apprehend the head of the Information Center for the Aceh Referendum (SIRA) Muhammad Nazar. If he is not found within two or three days, Muhammad Nazar would be listed as a fugitive by the Greater Aceh Police.
November 15, 2000
James Balowski – Some 400,000 people converged on the capital of Indonesia's nothernmost province of Aceh, Banda Aceh, on November 10 for a two-day independence rally, despite scores of killings by security forces trying to prevent demonstrators attending.
Jakarta – Former military commander Feisal Tanjung gave the order for the deadly 1996 attack on the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), a former intelligence official implied yesterday.
Former military intelligence chief Lieutenant General Moetojib said the attack of July 27, 1996, was ordered by the commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI).
Jon Land – On November 5, the Channel 9 Sunday program screened a special report titled "On Patrol in Timor", which claimed to show "how moderate militia factions are politically battling hardline groups still ready to attack the UN peacekeepers". The report, however, muddied many facts and issues surrounding the militia.
Lukmanul Hakim/GB, Jakarta – Results of polling carried out by the Aceh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA) show that a clear majority of Acehnese would chose independence from Indonesia. 92% of recipients chose to break with the republic.
Merrilyn Treasure, Sydney – Having won liberation after 25 years of struggle, the East Timorese people's first challenge is to defend their right to freedom, East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao told 500 people at a "Peace and Justice in East Timor" public meeting here on November 9. Gusmao was delivering the 2000 Sydney Peace Prize lecture.
Muharram M. Nur, Banda Aceh – With a peace process in shambles and violence escalating, about 50,000 people rallied in Indonesia's Aceh province Tuesday to demand independence.
Jim Mcilroy, Dili – Street stallholders selling food and drinks on the seafront near the centre of the city here faced an attempt to forcibly evict them from their established positions on November 3, as the United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET) moved to "clean up" the waterfront area, as part of a plan to make Dili a place attractive to tourists and the
Jakarta – Papua Presidium Council (PDP) chief Theys Hiyo Eluay and six other PDP leaders will soon be tried for alleged separatist activities, Irian Jaya Police chief Brig. Gen. Sylvanus Yulian Wenas said on Tuesday.
November 14, 2000
Jakarta – Rush-hour traffic in downtown Jakarta ground to a halt yesterday as protesters blocked streets, demanding that former President B.J. Habibie and his security chief be prosecuted for the deaths of 10 students two years ago.
Once again political developments in Indonesia have reached a crisis point and once again President Abdurrahman Wahid is abroad – this time traveling to Qatar to attend an Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting, then to Brunei for the annual Apec summit photo-ops. Crises perhaps seek out Wahid absences or, given the frequency of both, there are bound to be coincidences.
Bronwyn Curran, Dili – UN Security Council envoys wrapped up a two-day mission to East Timor Tuesday, concluding that it was ready for independence but in dire need of international support.
Jakarta – Thousands of angry protesters demanding President Abdurrahman Wahid's resignation trashed part of Indonesia's Parliament yesterday.
The demonstrators, some wearing white headbands, smashed lamps and chairs in the lobby of the parliamentary complex. Outnumbered police stood by and the violence only stopped when protest leaders brought the situation under control.
Tom Wright, Jakarta – Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab's premature response to an apparent Bush victory in the US presidential election last week showed how much Jakarta wants to see a Republican in the White House.
Banda Aceh – Separatists in the Indonesian province of Aceh threatened Tuesday to launch a campaign of civil disobedience to win independence as police in Jakarta called for a free hand to crack down on the rebels.
Tom Allard, Brunei – The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer, has rejected suggestions of double standards over Australia's refusal to back an independence vote in West Papua, saying Indonesia would disintegrate into a "bloodbath" should the province secede.
Banda Aceh – The people of the troubled northern Indonesian province of Aceh were on the move.
Mark Dodd, Suai – United Nations police in this shattered town had been forced to free people who had confessed to rape and murder because of a lack of resources to pursue investigations, a senior UN official told a visiting Security Council mission yesterday.
Yogyakarta – Representatives of 50 student groups and non-governmental organizations here urged Governor Hamengkubuwono X on Monday to take stern measures against members of a Muslim group who raided an AIDS discussion on Saturday night.
Jakarta – A massive clash broke out in Irian Jaya (West Papua) yesterday between transmigrants and natives. There were no immediate reports of any casualties, although there were many injuries. The violence occurred at the central market in Abepura subdistrict and lasted for at least one hour, Antara reported.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Since the economic crisis began, they have become a common sight at almost every major intersection in Indonesia's large cities – singing and dancing and beggar children and teenagers who make a bee-line for the most expensive cars or taxis.
November 13, 2000
Ingo W – The latest military reshuffle continues the trend to shift former Kostrad officers to the center of power of the Indonesian army (TNI-AD).
Jakarta – An explosion near a Christian meeting hall in the capital of Indonesia's North Sumatra, Medan, killed one person and seriously injured at least two others, hospital staff said yesterday.
Robert Go, Jakarta – As the government steps up efforts to enforce tax regulations and collect taxes, some citizens grumble privately that more of their hard-earned rupiah might go to the state's coffers in the future.
Jakarta – More than 10,000 Indonesian students converged at a main flyover in South Jakarta on Monday to commemorate the shooting of seven students there two years ago, causing massive traffic jams along the city's main thoroughfare.
A Dipta Anindita/Hendra & GB, Jakarta – The Socialist Democratic Faction (FDS) of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) led by Budiman Sudjatmiko has formally separated from the PRD after a long-running difference of opinion. FDS members have established a new struggle organisation named the Socialist Democratic Association (PDS).
Dili – Thousands of East Timorese, clutching flowers and photos, followed independence leader Xanana Gusmao in a procession through Dili's still-rubbled streets yesterday, in the largest ever commemoration of a massacre in the city's Santa Cruz cemetery nine years ago.
Jakarta – Former state minister of cooperatives and small and medium enterprises Adi Sasono was elected chairman of the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI) at the end of the association's four-day congress on Sunday. He replaces former president B.J. Habibie, who had held the post since the association was established in Malang, East Java, in 1990.