Amy Chew, Ambon – It happened suddenly. A group of men armed with machetes and calling themselves Christians descended upon the small Ambon village in Indonesia's farflung Maluku islands. It was a Muslim village. Without hesitation Kojip, a community leader, stepped forward and offered his life in exchange for those of his family and friends.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
October 27, 2000
Jakarta – Indonesia's newly established State Officials Wealth Audit Commission (KPKPN) has requested high salaries and luxury cars for its members, but the government is likely to turn the proposal down, a state minister said.
It was a surprise for a small group of demonstrators marching near the home of former Indonesian President Suharto yesterday to demand that he be put on public trial. After years of brutal clashes in the streets, the police greeted them with a smile and a welcome banner, instead of the usual riot shields and tear gas.
October 26, 2000
Pontianak – Indonesian riot police fired blanks to keep apart two feuding communities yesterday after a row erupted between locals and migrants in the western part of Borneo island.
By mid-afternoon, police in the West Kalimantan capital of Pontianak were stationed between local Malays and migrants from the island of Madura, off Java.
Chris McCall, Wamena – Separatist leaders in Irian Jaya'stense Baliem Valley say they are under police pressure to accept sole responsibility for bloody riots this month, but have so far resisted. Their claim came amid a military build-up in the valley ahead of December 1, the date Irian Jayans regard as their independence day.
Vaudine England – Four East Timorese militia leaders have sent a second letter to the United Nations, the Pope and governments pleading for international protection and accusing their colleagues in the Pro-Integration Armed Forces (PPI) of threatening their lives.
Michael Vatikiotis – Friday, around 3pm, and a tannoy rudely blares from a wall inside the US embassy in Jakarta. "There is a large demonstration outside the embassy at this time," squawks the speaker. "There will be no entry or exit from the embassy ..." Trapped.
Jakarta – Former East Timorese militia boss Eurico Guterres on Thursday accused Indonesia's attorney general of endangering his life by threatening to expel him to his former homeland.
Jakarta – Indonesia has accused Australia's opposition party of interfering in its sovereignty following a call by the party's president for a self-determination ballot in Irian Jaya, a report said Thursday.
Jakarta – At least five people were killed and four injured in renewed clashes between local Malays and settlers in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo on Thursday, reports and the military said.
New Zealand soldiers killed a third militiaman yesterday during a close-range gun battle in East Timor and shot at another in a separate skirmish. No New Zealand soldiers were injured in the fights, which took place three hours apart about 6km northeast of Suai, near the West Timor border.
October 25, 2000
In August 1975, as the Suharto dictatorship was preparing to invade East Timor, Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Richard Woolcott, sent a cable to Canberra urging compliance with Indonesia's plans to annex East Timor.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Dangerous radioactive materials have been stolen from a factory warehouse in Java, the Indonesian Nuclear Energy Control Board (Bapeten) said yesterday.
Jakarta – Hundreds of Islamic students protested Wednesday in front of the US Embassy in Jakarta, which suspended some services after receiving what was described as "a credible threat." Waving banners reading "Kill Jews" and "Israel, you are a devil," nearly 300 protesters chanted and denounced what they consider US support for the Jewish state.
Vaudine England, Surabaya – The first talks in months between East Timorese independence leaders and West Timor-based anti-independence groups took place in Surabaya yesterday to discuss ways to reconcile the former combatants. The informal meeting took almost two days to arrange but, once it happened, it looked like a family reunion.
Jon Land – While little has been revealed about the discussions during the first formal round of negotiations between the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and Australia on the future of the Timor Gap Treaty, the Australian government has made its position clear: it does not think that the terms of the treaty should change significantly (if at all) an
Chaidir Anwar Tanjung/GB, Jakarta – Caltex operations in Bengkalis, Riau, on Sumatra island, have been halted once again by disgruntled locals demanding employment at the oilfields. The situation seems to be deteriorating further as Caltex workers told the Riau Legislative Council that the company has discriminated against them in wage and contractual matters.
Romawaty Sinaga, Jakarta – Following a long battle, the militant Indonesian National Front for Workers Struggle (FNPBI) has finally won legal status as one of the country's 38 recognised unions.
[Who is a Free Aceh rebel, how does he operate, and what fuels Aceh's separatist war? Lee Kim Chew visited the guerilla bases in the strife-torn north Sumatran province to find out. This is the first of three articles.]
Tony Parkinson – Australia's role in the emancipation of East Timor was an ill-considered "frolic" that could easily have led to military humiliation, former governor-general Bill Hayden said last night.
Jakarta – Indonesia signalled its intention to crack down on bosses of failed banks yesterday, naming timber tycoon Mohamad "Bob" Hasan and two other businessmen as suspects in probes over the collapse of their financial institutions.
Lindsay Murdoch, Semarang – Nersia Emaculada De Nercio sits on the edge of a bed in the dormitory of an orphanage she shares with dozens of other children in central Java. She clutches the tattered photographs that are now the only link she has with her family, somewhere hundreds of kilometres away in the squalid refugee camps of West Timor.
Jakarta – Indonesian forces shot dead three alleged rebels during armed clashes in the troubled province of Aceh in north Sumatra, as separatist representatives seek a team to probe the escalating violence there, reports said Wednesday.
Chris McCall, Wamena – Police in Irian Jaya's remote Baliem Valley say they have removed all separatist Morning Star flags from the troubled region. Police chief Superintendent Daniel Suripatty vowed the flags would stay down permanently.
October 24, 2000
Vaudine England, Surabaya – A court yesterday ordered the release of East Timorese militia leader Eurico Guterres, who was originally arrested without a warrant and was seeking police protection because of actions issued against him overseas.
Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & GB, Sidoarjo – Sidoarjo, Surabaya, East Java, was a hot-bed of destructive demonstrations after around 3,000 striking workers from Indonesian electrical goods producer PT Maspion were provoked by hired thugs at the factory and rioted.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Indonesia yesterday deported a United States citizen, accused of spying in Irian Jaya, as the US accused the Defence Minister of whipping up anti-American feelings.
Bandung – Before the law on regional autonomy is implemented in January next year, more than 2.6 of the 4.2 million central government employees will be transferred to provincial administrations, a minister said on Monday.
Jakarta – Some 800 people from seven Islamic organizations staged a rally in front of the National Police Headquarters on Monday, urging the police to immediately solve various high-profile crimes, particularly those allegedly related to President Abdurrahman Wahid.
Taufik Subarkah/PT & Fitri, Jakarta – Around 300 prawn farmers from Dipasena Lampung in South Sumatra have staged a demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace, on Jl Medan Merdeka Utara, Tuesday. They are furious over President Abdurrahman Wahd's announcement to postpone the prosecution of Sjamsul Nursalim, the boss of PT Dipasenan.
Jakarta – Human Rights Watch called Tuesday on Indonesia to stop registering East Timorese refugees for repatriation or resettlement, saying there were no safeguards for them to chose freely whether they wanted to go home or not.
Djoko Tjiptono/Hendra & GB, Jakarta – Chairman of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) Budiman Sudjatmiko met the National Ombudsman Commission and then went to the Supreme Court to protest the handling of the party's case against 13 high ranking military and civil officials who blamed the PRD for the 27 July 1996 incident.
October 23, 2000
Jakarta – Abortion is on the rise in Indonesia, especially among unmarried women, and has now reached an alarming level, a family planning group said yesterday.
Jakarta – Some 65 migrants were trapped in a hinterland town in Indonesia's separatist province of Irian Jaya after thousands of local tribesmen prevented them from leaving, a report said Monday.
Vaudine England – Excitement pervaded the airport at Sentani, near Irian Jaya's capital Jayapura. As tourists and missionaries tried to collect their luggage, suspense rippled through the crowd of indigenous Papuans.
Jakarta – Indonesia's top security minister on Monday defended the actions of police who shot dead separatist supporters during a protest in remote Irian Jaya province 17 days ago, sparking riots that killed 31 people.
October 22, 2000
Michael Perry, Sydney – Pro-Jakarta militia in Indonesian West Timor have abandoned hit and run attacks on East Timor and begun infiltrating deeper into the territory, the United Nation's senior official in East Timor said on Monday.
Banda Aceh – At least four civilians, including a five-year-old child, were killed and three others seriously injured in the latest violence in the restive Indonesian province of Aceh, police and residents said Sunday.
Melbourne – Church leaders from Australia and Irian Jaya called here Friday for an East Timor-style independence ballot to stop escalating violence in the troubled Indonesian province.
October 21, 2000
Jakarta – Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Mr Alwi Shihab, has said President Abdurrahman Wahid will probably postpone a working trip to Australia next month, ministry officials and reports said yesterday.
Joanna Jolly, Kupang and Vaudine England, Jakarta – Militia leaders fear betrayal in the ranks and suspect the Indonesian military will use other senior militiamen against them.
Susan Sim, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid has been telling insiders this new joke for some weeks now: "There are three bodies beginning with the initials A.S. which do not like me.
Jakarta – The man spearheading the independence movement in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province on Saturday played down fears of further bloodshed in the remote area over flying the separatist Morning Star flag. "There will be no more bloodshed," Theys Eluay, chief of the Papua Praesidium Council, told AFP.
Jakarta – Dozens of East Timorese militia members rallied at The Habibie Center on Jl. Kemang Selatan, South Jakarta, on Friday, demanding that its founder B.J. Habibie, who is also a former president, take responsibility for last year's ballot in the former province which led to its independence.
Michael Millett, Tokyo – The Australian official shrugged his shoulders: "Do you penalise a whole country for the activities of a bunch of thugs?"
Robert Go, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid has announced temporary immunity from legal prosecution for three of Indonesia's biggest debtors in yet another controversial disclosure that is sure to draw fire from the country's angry legislators.
Yogyakarta – The Yogyakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) sent a letter to the National Police Chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro on Friday, protesting the decision to promote Brig. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman as Jakarta Police chief.
Jakarta – Noted rights activist Munir refused on Friday to help the government draft a revision of the Emergency Law and argued that such a lawis completely unnecessary.
October 20, 2000
Anastasia Vrachnos, Jakarta – "Vasectomies! Vasectomies!" screams a bright-red poster in the white, shiny waiting room of the Family Clinic. But the words miss their mark. The men at whom they are aimed are outside, waiting for their wives in the parking lot of this small community clinic in the Jakarta neighborhood of Tebet.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Parliamentary Speaker Akbar Tandjung sought to downplay suggestions yesterday that he would team up as a running mate to Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri in the case of a leadership change. He said if President Abdurrahman Wahid were to fall, Ms Megawati, who is now Vice-President, would be his constitutional successor.