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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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October 9, 2000

Jakarta Post - October 9, 2000

Ambon – Sporadic attacks occurred at several locations across Saparua and Ambon islands in Maluku province over the weekend, leaving one dead.

Detik - October 9, 2000

Chaidir Anwar Tanjung/GB, Pekanbaru – Villagers from the Sungai Rangau area, Tanah Putih subdistrict, Bengkalis, Riau province, Sumatra, have virtually taken over the local oilfields mined by international mining giant Caltex. After seizing 37 vehicles, the villagers moved on to occupy five oilfields, halting operations completely.

Agence France Presse - October 9, 2000

Canberra – The Labor Party and Australian Democrats are urging Australia to change its national boundaries with East Timor to help the struggling country gain financial independence.

Negotiations began today in Dili between Australia and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) over the Timor Gap treaty.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 9, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – Indonesian authorities have told the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that thousands of refugees are likely to be repatriated amid unconfirmed reports that militia gangs are losing control of the border refugee camps.

Detik - October 9, 2000

Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & AP, Surabaya – Labor action is disrupting Surabaya, with around 15 thousand laborers demanding to directly speak to the Mayor of Surabaya. The laborers, who took over the mayoral offices today at 10.30am, are demanding an increase in the minimum cost of living allowance.

October 8, 2000

Agence France Presse - October 8 2000

Sydney – Foreign Minister Alexander Downer renewed an invitation Sunday to Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid to visit Australia after the Indonesian parliament last week vetoed the trip.

October 7, 2000

NZPA - October 7, 2000

Dili - A small group of New Zealand soldiers shot and killed an armed militia member near Suai, East Timor, last night. The New Zealand Defence Force said in a statement today that none of the soldiers were injured in the 11pm incident about 4.5km north of Suai, where New Zealand troops are based near the West Timor border.

South China Morning Post - October 7, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Eurico Guterres, the well-connected militia leader, was questioned by four Indonesian prosecutors yesterday about his role in an East Timor massacre last year and more recent violence in West Timor.

World Socialist Web Site - October 7, 2000

James Conachy – A week after the September 28 Jakarta court ruling that former Indonesian dictator Suharto was "medically unfit" to stand trial, the government of President Abdurrahman Wahid is seeking to have the decision overturned.

October 5, 2000

Far Eastern Economic Review - October 5, 2000

Dini Djalal, Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe – Aceh is a war zone. Children are so accustomed to explosions and gunfire they make a game of dropping to the ground to avoid injury.

Straits Times - October 5, 2000

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Defence Minister Mahfud M.D. yesterday conceded that army elements were behind the spate of violence in Indonesia to destabilise the government. He said that the problems in outlying provinces like Aceh and Maluku and the recent explosions in the capital were the doing of generals linked to former president Suharto.

Jakarta Post - October 5, 2000

Jakarta – Coordinator of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) Hendardi said on Wednesday that the police were likely to soon release most of the suspects in the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) building.

Jakarta Post - October 5, 2000

Jakarta – Hundreds of students of privately-run Krisna Dwipayana University mobbed four members of the student paramilitary regiment (Menwa) and razed two campus facilities to the ground on Wednesday. The violence erupted at the end of a peaceful protest by the students demanding the abolition of Menwa in their campus in Jatiwaringin, East Jakarta.

Jakarta Post - October 5, 2000

Makassar – The conflict between the Alauddin State Islamic Institute (IAIN) and the South Sulawesi gubernatorial office continued on Wednesday with the detention of six civil servants by the students.

Jakarta Post - October 5, 2000

Jakarta – Experts and activists strongly criticized the Indonesian Military (TNI) for alleged unaccountable profits gained from commercial activities in the private sector and called for a transparent account of the matter.

South China Morning Post - October 5, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Timorese militia leader Eurico Guterres was arrested yesterday, two days after being named as a suspect in the violence that followed last year's independence vote in East Timor.

South China Morning Post - October 5, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – A protest organiser who hired demonstrators to rail against fuel price rises became the target of the mob he had rented when he failed to pay them and they missed out on a free lunch.

October 4, 2000

Green Left Weekly - October 4, 2000

Jim Mcilroy, Jakarta – One thousand peasants from various regions of Indonesia rallied and marched here on September 24 to demand government action on human rights and economic justice.

The Age - October 4, 2000

Mark Dodd, Malibaka – It is only 8am but the sun is scorching, and the 23 East Timorese refugees squat in the shade at the Malibaka River checkpoint after crossing back into their homeland. Australian soldiers offer water and search their belongings for hidden weapons, but those returning are mostly old men, women and children. Nothing suspicious is found.

Green Left Weekly - October 4, 2000

It was the movement which finally toppled the dictator Suharto in 1998 which made Romawaty Sinaga realise that workers and students had to unite to achieve any lasting fundamental change.

Jakarta Post - October 4, 2000

Makassar – Chaos and brutality continued here on Tuesday as thousands of students protesting the fuel price hike vandalized the governor's office, burned more cars and clashed with provincial administration civil servants.

Green Left Weekly - October 4, 2000

Jon Land – Nothing can highlight more the failure of the Indonesian government to rein in the pro-Jakarta militias operating in West Timor than the sham weapons handover that began on September 22. The first three-day "persuasive" phase of the handover has been followed by an equally farcical "forceful" seizure of weapons by Indonesian security forces.

Agence France Presse - October 4, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – An armed group set fire to 10 houses in a pre-dawn attack on a village in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province. More than 1,200 people fled the village of Paya Tampah, in the Bandar Baru sub-district of East Aceh after the attack, which took place about 2 am on Sunday.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 4, 2000 (abridged)

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Indonesia is set to clear the former armed forces chief General Wiranto over last year's violence in East Timor, despite intense international pressure for his prosecution.

Green Left Weekly - October 4, 2000

James Balowski – Some 30 people were injured and at least 46 arrested in Jakarta on September 27 in a series of clashes between anti-Suharto and pro-Suharto protesters and the police, following the dismissal of corruption charges against the former Indonesian president.

Green Left Weekly - October 4, 2000

Max Lane – The release of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) documents on East Timor for the period 1974-76 has provoked former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and former Australian ambassador to Indonesia Richard Woolcott to try to defend their abandonment of democratic principles in relation to East Timor.

Jakarta Post - October 4, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – The government will take to court four regents from East Kalimantan for allegedly selling forest concessions, a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said on Tuesday.

October 3, 2000

Agence France Presse - October 3, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – Under international pressure to rein in troublesome militias, Jakarta extended security operations to disarm the West Timor population but on Monday firmly laid the blame for the problem with the international community.

Agence France Presse - October 3, 2000

Jakarta – Former leader of East Timor's Aitarak militia Eurico Guterres warned here Monday that his supporters in West Timor could try to take over an East Timor district if he was arrested.

Detik - October 3, 2000

Maryadi/BI & GB, Pontianak – Hundreds of truck drivers at the Dwikora port in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, went on strike Monday. The drivers have conveyed their demand for an increase of 100% to the tariff for the rental of transport vehicles at the port to the Indonesian Expedition and Forwarder Group (Gafeksi) in Pontianak.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 3, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – They arrived without warning in two minibuses, brandishing clubs, swords and guns and wearing black masks. JeJe's nightclub, the most popular place for foreigners to meet in Jakarta, was packed with 600 patrons.

Reuters - October 3, 2000

Robert Go, Jakarta – The new revenue-sharing formula between Jakarta and regional governments presents a medium-term Pandora's box, but its immediate effect is the reduction of the central government's ability to jumpstart the economy at the national level.

Straits Times - October 3, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia's reformist government is reviewing official histories of key moments in the country's past that it says were misrepresented by former President Suharto's regime.

October 2, 2000

Agence France Presse - October 2, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – Five Indonesian students were injured when police opened fire on a protest against a rise in fuel prices, in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province, witnesses said.

Straits Times - October 2, 2000

Jakarta – The city administration is having trouble providing jobs for some 40,000 government employees whose ministries were closed down by the central government.

According to the deputy governor for administrative affairs, Mr Abdul Kahfi, his office would be very selective in recruiting government employees from dissolved ministries.

Straits Times - October 2, 2000

Jakarta – An angry mob has killed a man in Central Java for sleeping at his fiancee's house, while another man was stabbed to death after dancing erotically with a woman.

Detik - October 2, 2000

Bagus Kurniawan/BI & GB, Yogyakarta – Thousands of students from the Muhammadiyah High School in Yogyakarta, Central Java, have staged a rowdy protest on Monday at the Provincial Legislative Council building demanding the police take responsibility for the shooting of a student.

Jakarta Post - October 2, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – The first day of the fuel price hike passed without major public upheaval on Sunday, despite a few protests in Jakarta and Bandung, and rumors of bigger demonstrations in other towns.

In Jakarta, about 1,000 people from several labor unions protested in front of the Presidential Palace demanding that the government cancel the fuel price increase.

Straits Times - October 2, 2000

Chong Chee Kin, Dili – In a soft, quavering voice, Mr Jose Armando pleaded for a job in front of a group of journalists who had stopped at Kampung Baru, a village in the capital of Dili in East Timor.

Jakarta Post - October 2, 2000

Jakarta – As many as 95 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Aceh in the last 24 days despite the extension of the Humanitarian Pause between the government and the rebel Free Aceh Movement (GAM) a local rights group said.

October 1, 2000

Detik - October 1, 2000

DSB, DS & TS/GB, Jakarta – The increase in fuel prices, effective today Sunday 1 October 2000, have sparked demonstrations across Indonesia while the President has called on the people not to be 'reactive'. A massive national demonstration is planned for 10 October.

Straits Times - October 1, 2000

Jakarta – A Jakarta court has ordered investigators to drop an inquiry into corruption allegations against two Indonesian supreme court justices. South Jakarta District Court Judge Rusmandani on Friday upheld a demand by the two accused justices that the investigation was invalid because the inquiry team had acted beyond its authority.

Jakarta Post - October 1, 2000

Jakarta – The government on Saturday raised fuel prices by an average of 12 percent to help offset soaring oil prices in international markets. The new prices are effective as of Sunday.

September 30, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - September 30, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – On many of Jakarta's balmy evenings, the plush suburb of Menteng looks like a battlefield as protesters fight police blocking them from the house with the red tile roof at No 8 Cendana Street.

Jakarta Post - September 30, 2000

Jakarta – Police warned students on Friday against conducting more violent protests following the ugly clashes which erupted on Thursday after the South Jakarta District Court dropped corruption charges against former president Soeharto.

Straits Times - September 30, 2000

Susan Sim, Jakarta – It is not an equation that the angry young demonstrators give two hoots about, but the donor countries probably care more about the fate of the Indonesian orangutan than whether former President Suharto goes to jail.

Straits Times - September 30, 2000

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid, attempting to contain the political fallout from the collapse of the multi-million-dollar corruption case against former President Suharto, has vowed to have it reopened.

South China Morning Post - September 30, 2000

Associated Press at the United Nations – Britain joined the United States in warning overnight that Indonesia risked losing foreign aid if it doesn't immediately disarm militias and arrest those responsible for killing UN aid workers and wreaking havoc in Timorese refugee camps.

Straits Times - September 30, 2000

The dismissal of former President Suharto's graft case has provoked widespread dismay in Indonesia, with newspapers attacking President Abdurrahman, saying the ruling could destroy the Muslim cleric's anti-graft campaign. Here is an excerpt of The Jakarta Post editorial on the issue

Straits Times - September 30, 2000

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Student activists, angered by a Jakarta district court's rejection of former President Suharto's corruption charges, have vowed to step up pressure to bring him back to court with more street rallies next week.