Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Indonesia's embattled leader has suffered another attack on his presidency when lawmakers called on Mr Abdurrahman Wahid to resign, blaming him for the country's economic woes, and the separatist and ethnic violence rocking the country.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 13, 2000
November 12, 2000
Banda Aceh – Banda Aceh, the provincial capital of Indonesia's restive Aceh province, was calm early Sunday as the death toll linked to two days of pro-independence rallies reached 35. "So far, it appears to be calm this morning, but yesterday there were talks of continuing the street rallies today," a local journalists said.
November 11, 2000
Banda Aceh – President Abdurrahman Wahid blamed the army and police Friday for the escalating violence in Aceh province and the deaths of at least 19 civilians before a separatist rally.
John Aglionby, Jakarta – Hundreds of thousands of people gathered yesterday in and around the capital of Aceh province for a huge two-day independence rally, despite scores of killings by security forces trying to frighten off demonstrators.
Dili – Indonesian soldiers helped 85 East Timorese refugees cross the border back into their homeland under heavy rain Saturday, a United Nations refugee official said.
Jakarta – The government has given the former owners of ailing banks taken over by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) until Wednesday to agree to surrender more assets to ensure they settle their debts or face legal sanctions, reports said.
Chris McCall, Jakarta and Agencies in Banda Aceh – Almost 400,000 people converged on Banda Aceh, capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, for a two-day independence rally after President Abdurrahman Wahid urged troops to let it go ahead following the deaths of 26 people.
Mark Todd, Dili – Indonesia says a large number of East Timor refugees will be repatriated soon from squalid militia-controlled camps in West Timor, but the timing of the announcement comes days before a visit to the violence-prone border region by a high-level mission from the United Nations Security Council.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Indonesia is planning to crack down on major tax evaders in an attempt to raise state revenues and reduce corruption, a move that could pose serious problems for the family of former President Suharto and his associates who may have benefited from the sloppy enforcement of regulations and patronage during his 32-year rule.
November 10, 2000
Jakarta – Former Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) chief Gen. (ret) Feisal Tanjung testified on Thursday that former president Soeharto implicitly ordered the halt of a free speech forum at the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in July 1996.
Jakarta – Disaster and unrest have increased the number of internally displaced people in the country to a staggering 1,050,000, officials said on Thursday.
The secretary-general of the National Board of Social Welfare (BKSN), Ferry Johannes, said the refugees made up 240,333 families sheltering in 18 provinces, most in the Maluku islands.
Jakarta – Police and separatist leaders in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province on Friday appeared set for further conflict over a banned separatist flag, just one day after a landmark compromise agreement was reached.
Robert Go, Jakarta – Indonesian police yesterday scoured exclusive watering holes and five-star hotels in the capital in a massive hunt for the country's best-known fugitive. Meanwhile, regional police went through the Suharto family's estates throughout the country in search of Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra.
Muchus BR/Hendra & PT, Jakarta – 75 Workers in Solo, Central Java have staged a peaceful but rowdy rally at the Solo Municipality Building. The crowds are demanding that they are allowed to see the Solo Mayor.
November 9, 2000
Pidie – Hundreds of thousands tried to beat tight security Thursday to reach the capital of Indonesia's troubled Aceh province for a pro-independence rally, as police and residents said 16 people had died in two days of violence.
Sydney – Indonesian authorities conspired with East Timorese militiamen to permit the systematic rape of women and the keeping of sex slaves, the Australian wife of independence leader Xanana Gusmao said Thursday.
Robert Go, Jakarta – The government's inability to force the son of long-time ruler Suharto into jail makes a farce out of Indonesia's law enforcement, observers and analysts here said.
Jakarta – Political rifts over the performance of President Abdurrahman, also known as Gus Dur, continued on Wednesday as staunch supporters of the President and his critics demonstrated separately in Makassar, Jakarta and Surabaya.
Jakarta – Regional governments in Indonesia have been barred by Jakarta from making deals with foreign countries.
John McBeth, Jakarta – When Lt.-Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah threw a party on his recent forty-ninth birthday, guests weren't sure whether the flowers delivered to his house were for a celebration or a wake. Certainly, it's no military secret why most of the general's brother officers failed to show up for the affair.
Lindsay Murdoch – The hunt for Tommy Suharto, the fugitive son of Indonesia's disgraced former president, has turned into high farce. Tommy is demanding that jail authorities build him a special suite inside Jakarta's high-security Cipinang jail.
Jakarta – Notorious Eurico Guterres, former commander of pro-Indonesia Aitarak East Timorese militia, has been awarded a "red-and-white award" by the State Defense Movement for his struggle to defend Indonesian rule in East Timor.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Organisers of Jakarta's International Film Festival were kept waiting until the last minute for permission to screen the film banned by former president Suharto, The Year of Living Dangerously.
Warren Caragata, Jakarta – It was not the sort of message Indonesia would want to send the world. About 100 young men wearing military-style uniforms and identifying themselves as members of a Muslim militia fanned out across the tourist hangout of Solo in central Java. They barged into several hotels and insisted that any American guests be expelled.
Maryadi/BI & GB, Pontianak – Three university students have been injured after Mobile Brigade officers stormed the University of Tanjungpura campus in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. The incident occurred after the students refused to release three police officers taken hostage in the hope of ensuring the release of fellow students detained by police.
[In these two articles we look at the problems of building a new East Timor, where many locals feel the United Nations is leaving them out of decisions on their future, and where past violence casts a long shadow on the next generation]
Jakarta – Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro called on local oil and mining companies on Wednesday to improve community development in a bid to curb the escalation of hostilities against their operations.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – It appears that unemployed villagers are not the only ones who stand to gain from the series of disruptions to Indonesia's richest oil fields in Riau province.
November 8, 2000
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Aceh, one of the proudest and most defiant of Indonesia's provinces, has become the first province in the reform era to elect its own Governor, defying Jakarta's calls to wait until security improves.
Jakarta – Police in Riau province yesterday arrested five local residents suspected of masterminding arson attacks on five oil-wells operated by PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia (CPI).
The arson took place on Monday afternoon in Tanah Putih subdistrict, Rokan Hilir district, when a mob claiming to belong to the Tani Sawit Permai oil palm farmers group torched the wells.
Jon Land – Companies operating in the oil and natural gas rich Timor Gap include some of the largest multinational and Australian-based energy corporations.
Jakarta – Unidentified men fired shots at the headquarters of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) last night but there were no reports of injuries, witnesses said.
Bob Burton – While BHP's proclaims that "prevention is better than cure", the company is pressing ahead with investigations into dumping in the ocean wastes from the proposed Gag Island nickel project, 150 kilometres west of West Papua in Indonesia.
Jakarta – Some 2,000 pro-independence Acehnese staged a huge rally in front of the UN office in the Indonesian capital Wednesday demanding international intervention to end the fighting in the rebellious state.
Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) supports the West Papuan people's demand for a free act of national self-determination.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Local villagers set fire to four oil wells belonging to the country's largest oil producer in Riau province in Sumatra, causing as much as US$240,000 damage.
Devi Asmarni, Jakarta – About 50 billion rupiah (S$10 million) was allegedly offered to put a stop to a Parliament investigation into the illegal siphoning of 35 billion rupiah from a state agency.
Banda Aceh – Indonesian troops killed at least six people Wednesday as thousands streamed toward the capital of the province of Aceh for a massive two-day pro-independence rally, residents said.
Pip Hinman – The efforts by the West Papuan people to garner international support for self-determination have taken a number of leaps forward recently.
Jakarta – The Indonesian government's inability to drag a son of former strongman Suharto to jail is further damaging its authority and the country's already weak law enforcement record, analysts said here Wednesday.
November 7, 2000
Jakarta – The House of Representatives passed on Monday a law on human rights tribunals which makes it possible to try past abuses. In a plenary session led by House Deputy Speaker Soetardjo Soerjoguritno, all 10 factions at the House endorsed the law.
Associated Press in Dili – For the first time since East Timor broke free from Indonesian occupation last year, wage earners in the territory will have to pay income tax, according to a draft law introduced on Tuesday.
Jakarta – An angry mob on the Indonesian island of Bali has attacked the offices of international conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), demanding a recent ban on trading green turtles be lifted.
They were among more than 100 protesters who marched on the WWF office in Bali's capital Denpasar yesterday, the group's program director Tim Jessup said today.
Bengkulu – Officials here said on Monday 48,000 of 251,000 hectares of conserved forest in the province have been damaged by illegal logging.
Jakarta – Indonesia promised IMF officials it will direct windfall oil profits towards its staggering debt, accelerate asset sales and move on the privatisation leg of its bank recovery program, officials said Tuesday.
Associated Press In Jakarta – The fugitive son of former dictator Suharto remained in hiding on Tuesday as his lawyers claimed that inmates at a Jakarta penitentiary had made death threats against him.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – In the latest sign of rising disappointment in President Abdurrahman Wahid – a year after he swept to power – a poll has shown that most Indonesians want him sacked.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – The former commander of the Indonesian Forces in East Timor, Major-General Kiki Syahnakri, has been promoted to the position of deputy army chief of staff, the Indonesian military announced yesterday.
November 6, 2000
A Dipta Anindita/GB, Jakarta – Around 500 protesters from 13 urban communities in Jakarta staged a rowdy demonstration at the Provincial Legislative Council on Monday. They claimed their land had been illegally seized by police backed by hired thugs to make way for a new railway line.
Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & GB, Surabaya – Around 250 demonstrators from the Solidarity Front for PT Mepoly Labourers staged a demonstration at the East Java Legislative Council (DPRD). They accused the company of hiring the thugs who threatened them and stabbed a colleague at a demonstration at the factory on November 1.