Associated Press in Kupang – A notorious militia leader surrendered a handgun to police on Saturday after Indonesia's president threatened to have him arrested if he refused.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
September 30, 2000
Vaudine England and Associated Press in Kupang – Two days after the start of what was supposed to be a campaign to forcibly disarm East Timorese militiamen in West Timor, Indonesian police said yesterday they had netted only 21 weapons, all of which were surrendered voluntarily.
September 29, 2000
United Nations – The UN official running East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, reiterated on Friday that he was "skeptical" about the ability of the Indonesian army to disband militias in West Timor.
Jakarta – City authorities say they are fully prepared for violent protests, strikes and shortages when fuel prices are raised on Sunday.
The authorities said on Thursday 200 buses were on standby should bus drivers in the capital go on strike to protest the 12 percent fuel price hike.
Mark Dodd, Suai – Dead men tell no tales, according to the adage, but the body of a dead militiaman can reveal a bounty of information. For the present he is an unknown warrior who was among a group ambushed by New Zealand peacekeepers.
Marianne Kearney Jakarta – Malam Minggu or Saturday night is always busy in the glass and granite shopping centres that serve as Jakarta's social hubs.
Jakarta – Despite widespread public disproval, the city administration has apparently bowed to councillors demands and allocated them Rp 40.43 billion (US$4.5 million) of the 2000 City Budget to buy land and cars.
Jakarta – In stunning TV footage, an Indonesian police officer aimed his grenade launcher into the face of a cowering protester and fired point-blank.
The protester, indignant at a court's dismissal of corruption charges against former President Suharto, was one of hundreds who had poured into rain-swept streets on Thursday.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – An Indonesian court yesterday dismissed corruption charges against former president Soeharto as the Government intensified its confrontation with his family and angry protesters clashed with police on the streets.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesia yesterday failed to meet its deadline to disarm Timorese militias, despite increasing international pressure on Jakarta to rein in the army gangs.
Police sources in the border town of Atambua said that security forces were still carrying out shack-to-shack searches for weapons using metal detectors.
Jakarta – Five people were shot dead by police who were attempting to fend off a mob attacking a police station in the East Java town of Bondowoso, National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro said on Thursday.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – The South Jakarta Court's decision yesterday to close the fraud case against former president Suharto poses one of the gravest challenges yet to the Government of President Abdurrahman Wahid, and is unlikely to provide closure for many Indonesians.
Jakarta – Some 30 people were wounded in the capital on Thursday in clashes between anti-Soeharto and pro-Soeharto protesters and the police following the dismissal of corruption charges against the former president.
Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court dropped on Thursday multimillion-dollar graft charges against former president Soeharto after hearing medical arguments from an independent team of doctors that he was mentally and physically unfit to stand trial.
September 28, 2000
Jakarta – Security authorities confiscated hundreds of rounds of ammunition, explosive materials and several M-16 rifles from a ship which was attempting to dock at East Halmahera in the North Maluku province. The weapons and ammunition were seized from the motor boat Albatim which had traveled from Bitung in North Sulawesi to the Maba district, the capital of Central Halmahera.
Jakarta – At least 32 Christians were killed in a day-long attack by Muslims on an outlying village in Ambon, the capital of Indonesia's Maluku islands, a church worker said yesterday.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Prosecutors were deciding yesterday whether to arrest the youngest son of former president Suharto after a surprise ruling by the Supreme Court sentencing him to 18 months' jail on graft charges. Lawyers for Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra said they were planning an appeal against the decision, which reversed a lower court acquittal last October.
Jakarta – Six young Christians said Thursday they spent a sleepless night in the grounds of the Swiss embassy after jumping into the mission to highlight the sectarian conflict in the Maluku islands.
Dini Djalal, Jakarta – Tragedy is routine for Munir, Indonesia's foremost human-rights advocate. But the early September day when he learned of the death of Jafar Siddique Hamzah was especially grim. The body of the 36-year-old human-rights worker, an American citizen, was among five found in a ravine near Medan, trussed and bearing the marks of torture.
Jakarta – The economic crisis is still gripping the country, with the number of poor families rising from 6.9 million last year to 7.7 families this year, according to the results of a new survey. The number of poor families make up over 16 percent of the estimated total number of families in the country.
Padang – As many as 127 families from Aceh, who had to leave the restive town for security reasons, are facing uncertainty in West Sumatra. The families, supposed to be resettled in the Silaut VI resettlement area in the Pesisir Selatan regency, have yet to be properly handled. The local administration seems to be unprepared to receive them.
Jakarta – The leader of a youth group linked to the Indonesian military has been detained for allegedly instigating and funding an attack on a United States consulate office to protest against US involvement in Timor.
September 27, 2000
Jon Land – Negotiations on the future of the Timor Gap Treaty between the Australian government, the United Nations Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET) and East Timorese representatives are set to resume on October 9-11 in Dili.
Budi Sugiharto/FW, Surabaya – Thousands farmers from all over East Javanese regional districts poured on to the streets in Surabaya, capital city of East Java province. They have been holding a rally on Wednesday demanding the East Java regional government to pay more attention to their declining standard of living.
Ali Kotarumalos, Jakarta – A bomb exploded outside the office of a prominent Indonesian human rights group Wednesday, just hours before the corruption trial of ex-dictator Suharto was set to resume. There were no injuries in bombing, the latest in series of blasts that have terrorized Jakarta, and damage was minimal.
Mark Dodd, Dili – Falintil guerillas, acting as scouts for Portuguese peacekeepers, have for the first time opened fire on suspected militia members conducting cross-border raids from West Timor.
Jakarta – Two activists testified in a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday that they saw the police using force to expel four of their colleagues, who were on a hunger strike, from the People's Consultative Assembly complex last month.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Eurico Guterres, the swaggering militia leader blamed for atrocities in East and West Timor who continues to thumb his nose at authorities, has threatened to mobilise his followers against Indonesia's regional police post.
Agencies in Jakarta – Two soldiers among 28 suspects arrested over a spate of bombings in the capital planted the explosives at the Jakarta Stock Exchange which killed 15 people, police said yesterday. But police said they were still looking for the mastermind behind the blasts.
Vanja Tanaja, Dili – The newest addition to East Timor's political landscape was declared formally at the National Council of Timorese Resistance headquarters on September 20: the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
The founders and key leaders of the PSD are leaders of CNRT: Mario Carrascalao, Agio Pereira, Leandro Isaac and Zacarias da Costa.
Preparing the draft 2001 state budget that will be unveiled to the House of Representatives next week should be one of the most daunting jobs for the one month-old Cabinet, notably its economic team.
September 26, 2000
Makassar – Around 200 students took to the streets here on Monday protesting the fuel price hike, effective next month. The students, from the Student Movement for People, said the policy was not popular and would "kill the people with low incomes." The rally started at 10am local time, congesting the traffic on Jl. Urip Sumohardjo thoroughfare.
Lindsay Murdoch – The Whitlam Government gave Jakarta every indication that Australia favoured Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, according to Indonesia's former foreign minister, Mr Ali Alatas. He says Australia felt East and West Timor shared a common race and culture, so "it would be better for East Timor to join Indonesia".
Jakarta – At least nine people were killed and 15 others injured in an attack by Muslims Tuesday on a Christian village in Ambon, the capital of Indonesia's restive Maluku islands, a report and church worker said.
MMI Ahyani/GB, Bandung – Thousands of peasants have descended on the provincial parliament in Bandung, the capital of West Java. They joined hundreds of textile workers occupying the building. The peasants protested their fate at the hands of corrupt government officials and institutions which have impoverished them and demanded the parliament be disbursed.
Mark Dodd, Oecussi – It is the dry season and the villagers of Malelat, a remote collection of thatched huts amid parched mountains, are discussing an impending problem.
Ambon – A fresh community clash broke out in Ambon Island on Monday morning when residents from Tial and Tulehu villages attacked nearby Suli village, injuring at least five residents and destroying dozens of houses, an official said.
Dili – The head of the UN mission in East Timor on Monday branded Indonesian attempts to disarm pro-Jakarta militias as "pathetic" after two UN observers fled a militia riot at a West Timor police station.
September 25, 2000
Banda Aceh – Indonesian police and separatist rebels in Aceh province on Monday welcomed a three-month truce extension with a landmark clause on efforts to find a political solution. But civilian groups immediately demanded a voice in the dialogue, and said it would be meaningless if they were left out.
Terry Mccarthy, Jakarta – Saludin, a newly hired driver for Coca-Cola in Jakarta, was waiting in his car in the underground parking lot of Jakarta's stock exchange when a bomb exploded last Wednesday.
Lukmanul Hakim/Hendra, Jakarta – On 24 September 1999, five students were shot dead in the Semanggi district of the Indonesian capital Jakarta by the military while protesting the proposed implementation of special military powers.
Khairul Ikhwan D/BI & GB, Jakarta – The notorious 'Petrus' killings of the 1980s, when possibly thousands of underworld figures were eliminated by the security forces under orders from former president Suharto, might seem like a distant memory in the new democratic Indonesia. Not so.
September 24, 2000
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – As wary residents brace themselves for more surprise attacks after the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange building, businesses offering security-related products have moved to cash in on the moment.
Atambua – Bowing to international pressure, Indonesia has begun to disarm pro-Jakarta Timorese militias even as Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman said that the Indonesian Military (TNI) should not continue denying that it has a connection with militias currently operating in West Timor.
Washington – Senior US government officials are actively considering steps, including moving to postpone next month's donors' meeting for Indonesia, if the government of President Abdurrahman Wahid does not follow through on a pledge to disarm militia forces in West Timor and take strong measures to improve a deteriorating human-rights situation throughout the archipelago.
September 23, 2000
Jakarta – The Indonesian Parliament plans to investigate allegations of a 189-billion-rupiah (S$38 million) corruption scandal at a foundation run by the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), although the allegation has been dismissed.
Jakarta – A senior Indonesian general has warned that foreign powers – including the United States – may be plotting to take over the remote province of Irian Jaya, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman said the country's legal system is in desperate need of a complete overhaul in order to restore confidence in the judiciary.
Jakarta – A full-scale brawl, involving more than a thousand students from the Christian University of Indonesia (UKI) and the University of Bung Karno (UBK), left scores of people injured in the capital.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said yesterday he had sacked the national police chief because the latter had refused to arrest a son of former president Suharto and a Muslim leader he had linked to the recent bomb attacks in Jakarta.