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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 6, 2000

Agence France Presse - May 6, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian troops will remain in Aceh after the government signs a truce with separatist rebels next week and there will be no referendum on self-rule for the troubled province, Foreign Affairs Minister Alwi Shihab said Friday.

Jakarta Post - May 6, 2000

Jakarta – Two retired generals separately testified before National Police investigators on Thursday and Friday that the country's former "political patron" was behind the July 27, 1996, violence.

May 5, 2000

Australian Financial Review - May 5, 2000

Tim Dodd, Jakarta – For five days this week Indonesia's media was in hot pursuit of the story that President Abdurrahman Wahid planned to retire on his 60th birthday in September this year.

Agence France Presse - May 5, 2000

Wellington – Foreign Minister Phil Goff Friday sent Jakarta a list of assets held by former Indonesian president Suharto and his family in New Zealand. The list was sent to Indonesia's Attorney General Marzuki Darusman and included a multi-million dollar alpine lodge, Lilybank Station.

Indonesian Observer - May 5, 2000

Jakarta – The former chief of East Timor's Battalion 745 in Los Palos, Major Jacob Joko Sarosa, confirmed yesterday his superior had told him to mobilize troops after the East Timor ballot on August 30 last year. He said barring an order from his superior, the troops would still remain in military barracks.

Asiaweek - May 5, 2000

Jose Manuel Tesoro, Jakarta – On April 20, in a house on Irian Street in Jakarta's residential district of Menteng, two top Indonesian leaders broke fast together.

Reuters - May 5, 2000

Washington – The United States said on Friday it saw "promising prospects" for Indonesia's domestic investigation into atrocities in East Timor last year. But if the Indonesian judicial system failed to deliver credible justice, the international community would have to take on the task, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told a seminar for editors on war crimes.

Agence France Presse - May 5, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – The future of post-Suharto Indonesia hinges on how the nation handles its military, according to a report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) released Thursday.

May 4, 2000

Jakarta Post - May 4, 2000

Jakarta – Former vice president Gen. (ret) Try Sutrisno and former armed forces commander Gen. (ret) L.B. Moerdani were questioned on Wednesday over their roles in a 1984 shooting in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, that left at least 40 people dead.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 4, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – United Nations police and human rights investigators have begun inspecting what is claimed to have been a militia torture centre used last year to force independence activists to support integration with Indonesia.

Agence France Presse - May 4, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia will more than double monthly allowances for impoverished state teachers, Finance Minister Bambang Sudibyo said yesterday, but rejected their demands for a 300-per-cent wage hike.

Irish Times - May 4, 2000

West Timor – Tjitske Lingsma, reporting from one of the most notorious of the refugee camps, considers West Timor may end up with the monster created by the Indonesian army: the East Timorese militiamen.

Jakarta Post - May 4, 2000

Jakarta – The rupiah is undervalued due to lingering volatility on the Indonesian political front, according to an executive of a foreign hedge fund.

"Theoretically the rupiah is still undervalued. It should range between Rp 6,500 and Rp 7,000 [against the dollar]," Calvin Y. L. Ho, senior portfolio manager at Citicorp Investment Bank Ltd. of Singapore, said on Wednesday.

May 3, 2000

Lusa - May 3, 2000

Acting for a speedy independence, the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) has proposed the creation of a joint commission with the territory's transitional United Nations administration to prepare a constitutional conference next year.

News ›› East Timor ›› May Day
Green Left Weekly - May 3, 2000

Akara Reis, Dili – As workers prepare to celebrate their first May Day in a free East Timor, their pay and conditions of work remain very low, especially compared with the vast sums paid to foreign workers employed by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET).

Sydney Morning Herald - May 3, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – A day after United Nations riot police swooped on armed gangs running amok in Dili, UN peacekeepers have raised concerns about another potential law and order problem: military-style neighbourhood watch groups.

Canberra Times - May 3, 2000

Australia failed to fulfil its duty of care to the Timorese people who were placed at risk by our Government's policy, says Tony Kevin.

South China Morning Post - May 3, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – With little fanfare, President Abdurrahman Wahid's Government has so far managed to forestall efforts by radical Muslim groups to send a "jihad" fighting force to the Maluku Islands.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 3, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch and Tony Wright Jakarta and Jerusalem – Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has urged that Australia's defence forces resume cooperation with Indonesia's military just six months after the country's soldiers were involved in widespread violence and destruction in East Timor.

Green Left Weekly - May 3, 2000

Mark Abberton, Sydney – Representatives of the West Papuan freedom movement, meeting at a conference here on April 19, expressed hope about new openings for greater unity and organisation in their struggle for independence from Indonesia.

Green Left Weekly - May 3, 2000

Helen Jarvis, Jakarta – April 15 marked the first anniversary of the establishment of an extraordinary organisation, the Indonesian Institute for the Study of 1965-1966 Massacre (YPKP).

Channel News - May 3, 2000

Indonesian legislators have "doubled" their own pay despite protests from trade unionists and student organisations. Local media reports say the average monthly wage of the 500 members of the House of Representatives is now about US$1,200. This came after the Legislature voted to approve the bill last month and the pay hikes took effect on 1 April.

May 2, 2000

Straits Times - May 2, 2000

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – A human-rights group alleges that soldiers raped and beat villagers in north Aceh last month while they were conducting raids in search of separatist Free Aceh rebels.

Mr Maimul Fidar, the chairman of a non-government investigation team, said 20 non-local troops had conducted an early morning raid on March 7.

Jakarta Post - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – The re-election of Yusril Ihza Mahendra as Crescent Star Party (PBB) chairman has brought about a split within the party. Sixteen senior members said they would reject the results of the congress and hold a separate special congress of their own.

Jakarta Post - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – Workers across the country rallied in observance of International Labor Day on Monday to voice their demands, including a 100 percent pay increase. At least 1,500 workers from various organizations grouped under the National Front Struggle for Indonesian Workers (FNPBI) held a demonstration at the House of Representatives to air their demands.

Jakarta Post - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – The Attorney General's Office kicked off on Monday their official investigation into last year's violence in East Timor by questioning several Indonesian Military (TNI) officers. Former East Timor military commander Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman was grilled for more than six hours while his immediate superior, former Udayana Military commander Maj. Gen.

Jakarta Post - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – A violent clash on Monday between student protesters and police in Medan, North Sumatra, claimed the life of at least two students and injured 17 others.

Both victims were reportedly shot in the neck. The dead were identified as Kelvin Nababan and Rikardo, both economy faculty students from Nomensen Christian University.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 2, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – United Nations riot police backed by soldiers from the peacekeeping force launched an extensive security operation yesterday to clear Dili's central market area of scores of armed youths, after the worst violence seen in the capital since last year's militia rampage.

New York Times - May 2, 2000

Seth Mydans – People here have got used to the scene: a mob of unemployed young men shoving, shouting and weeping in anger outside the headquarters of the United Nations, held back by an impassive multinational police contingent.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 2, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Reports that Indonesian authorities are serious about bringing to justice Eurico Guterres, East Timor's most notorious militia commander, appear to be premature.

The long-haired, black-clad, former gang leader in Dili is often seen mingling with Indonesia's elite at a official functions in Jakarta.

Agence France Presse - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Tuesday visited Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the country's greatest modern writer whose works remain officially banned here.

Pramoedya described the meeting as "good" but said he did not ask Wahid to restore his name or grant him compensation for the work that was destroyed while he was in jail.

Agence France Presse - May 2, 2000

Geneva – The flow of East Timorese refugees signing up to be repatriated from camps in West Timor is "grinding to a halt" because of fears they could be harassed on their return, the UN's refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday.

Straits Times - May 2, 2000

Jakarta – A law enacted last year by the Habibie government was designed to ensure that former president Suharto and his cronies would be immune to corruption charges, says a senior lawyer.

May 1, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - May 1, 2000

David Lague – Hostility towards Australia in the Indonesian military is undermining efforts to rebuild ties between Canberra and Jakarta and threatening the safety of Australian service personnel and equipment.

Straits Times - May 1, 2000

Susan Sim, Jakarta – After six months of trying to fathom if their President is merely a nicer clone of their former leaders or truly unusually democratic, some Indonesians think they have him figured out.

Jakarta Post - May 1, 2000

Ambon – At least six people were killed and 50 others injured on Sunday when security personnel opened fire to disperse warring groups at the border between Batu Merah and Mardika districts.

Associated Press - May 1, 2000

Jakarta – A tribal war between two villages in the remote mountains of West Papua has left more than 100 people dead in the past year, the official Antara news agency reported Monday.

The conflict pits indigenous people from Wampe and Bilaga villages in the Puncak Jaya region of the Indonesian province, Antara said.

Jakarta Post - May 1, 2000

Jakarta – The government effort to probe prominent businesspeople's alleged involvement in corruption in the forestry sector is doomed to failure because of the probability investigators are also corrupt, experts said.

Jakarta Post - May 1, 2000

Jakarta – Hundreds of workers from various companies across Greater Jakarta took to the capital's main streets on Sunday as they geared up for International Labor Day on Monday. Under the close watch of police, the workers marched from the Proclamation Monument to a roundabout near Hotel Indonesia in Jakarta's main business district on Jl. Thamrin.

Jakarta Post - May 1, 2000

Jimbaran, Bali – Aside from mismanagement, poverty and overpopulation have aggravated the development of a social security system in Indonesia.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 1, 2000

Mark Dodd, Suai – When Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Reynolds took part in a recent murder case in Canberra, about 20 detectives were assigned within 24 hours to solve the killing.

April 30, 2000

Straits Times - April 30, 2000

Susan Sim, Jakarta – As leaders of Aceh's armed rebel movement hovered on the brink of a peace agreement with Jakarta, officials here warned that if it backed out now, it would find itself isolated.

Straits Times - April 30, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian police fired warning shots and tear gas yesterday to break up a student demonstration in Pekanbaru during a visit by President Abdurrahman Wahid to the city in the Sumatran province of Riau.

The shots and tear gas were fired as the students attempted to break through the police security cordon around the governor's office, the Antara news agency said.

April 29, 2000

Reuters - April 29, 2000

Yogyakarta – Radical Indonesian Moslem fighters who have vowed to launch a jihad, or holy struggle, in the bloodied Moluccas said on Saturday they had been forced to postpone their departure for the islands.

Agence France Presse - April 29, 2000 (abridged)

Banda Aceh – Three military witnesses on Saturday told a court trying 24 soldiers charged with massacring 58 civilians in Aceh province last year that an officer, now declared missing, had ordered the killing of 23 people wounded in a shooting spree there.

Straits Times - April 29, 2000

In the first part of our special report on the Indonesian economy yesterday, we looked at the controversial issue of fuel and food subsidies and the millions of Indonesians who are still mired in poverty

While Indonesia's middle class do not have to worry about their next meal, many of them are still going easy on imported goods and luxuries.

South China Morning Post - April 29, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – In a surprise move, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday proposed a meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao to help repair strained relationships.

Jakarta Post - April 29, 2000

Jakarta – Crescent Star Party (PBB) chairman Yusril Ihza Mahendra acknowledged on Friday accepting Rp 1 billion from then president B.J. Habibie to help finance the newly established party prior to the 1999 general election.

The Australian - April 29, 2000

Alastair McLeod, Jayapura – West Papuans have emerged from the far west town of Fak Fak with reports of East Timorese style militia threatening and attacking the local people.

In recent weeks 50 supporters of the movement for an independent West Papua have fled Fak Fak to the capital Jayapura in fear of the newly formed Sargas Merah Putih – the red and white militia.

April 28, 2000

Jakarta Post - April 28, 2000

Jakarta – The government-sanctioned National Ombudsman Council received on Thursday a complaint of corruption in the Supreme Court.