Lindsay Murdoch who arrived in Darwin from Dili – The destruction of the capital is greater than anybody could imagine. Hundreds of houses are blackened shells. The doors of government offices are ajar. Banks, cafes, hotels, boarding houses, service stations: all burnt or trashed.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
September 11, 1999
Jakarta – The rising wave of nationalistic fever brought on by a fervor of anti-American and Australian sentiment continued on Friday as major Indonesian cities became witnesses to flag burning demonstrations.
Richard Lloyd Parry – It is a very long drive up the palm-lined, four-lane avenue to the monolithic headquarters of the Indonesia military just outside Jakarta, and the tension in our car is rising.
Vorasit Satienlerk, Dili – A UN Security Council team toured the ruined capital of East Timor on Saturday as the world community drew up plans for a security force to restore peace to the bloodied territory.
In another day of nationwide demonstrations more than 25,000 protesters packed the centre of Melbourne yesterday to hear East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao appeal to his Australian "brothers and sisters" to pressure the Howard Government to send peace enforcers into East Timor.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Indonesia's Alliance of Independent Journalists has issued an "urgent action" statement listing several Indonesian journalists missing in East Timor, as concerns grow about the difficulty of finding out what is happening in the territory.
John Aglionby, Kupang – When Ano Loy saw five Indonesian soldiers walking towards his home in Dili on Monday he was sure they were going to kill him. "They were carrying guns and cans of petrol. All the houses around mine were already empty, so they could only have been coming to me."
September 10, 1999
Washington – The International Monetary Fund has suspended discussions with Indonesia on its economic program, a fund spokesman said Friday.
"IMF management continues to keep under close review ongoing developments in Indonesia and discussions for the next program review are on hold," said the IMF spokesman, who asked not to be identified.
Patrick Mcdowell, Jakarta – Drunk on stolen beer, pro-Indonesian militiamen looted the UN compound in East Timor on Friday, smashing equipment and terrifying East Timorese still inside after most of the UN staff were evacuated.
Martin Woollacott – When the Seaforth Highlanders set off for Jakarta docks in November, 1946, after months of coping with the Indonesian liberation movement on behalf of the absent Dutch, they passed contingents of troops just in from Holland. With one accord, the British soldiers raised clenched fists and shouted "Merdeka!" ("Freedom!").
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Pat Burgess wipes away the tears. He doesn't want to make the life-or-death decision. The Australian political officer working for the United Nations has just been told that staff and their dependants, including Timorese, are evacuating from the besieged UN compound in Dili.
Kupang – The mayor of the East Timorese capital Dili warned Wednesday that the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) had to leave the territory or the killing and destruction there would continue.
The men in uniform usually get their own way, David Jenkins writes from Jakarta. Indonesia's military leaders are accustomed to getting their own way. And when it looked yesterday as if President Habibie might be tempted to give the green light to the early arrival of foreign peacekeepers in East Timor the generals decided enough was enough.
When Sister Margaret arrived in Kupang yesterday after a 30- minute flight from East Timor's capital Dili, she suddenly realised how lucky she was to be a nun. "I was able to go off with the other sisters and priests to the bishop's house. I was not herded into a truck like an animal and driven off to a camp. We managed to retain some dignity."
Louise Williams – Catholic Church leaders were hiding in remote East Timor mountains last night after pro-Jakarta militia gangs went on a rampage of bloody retribution, murdering at least 14 priests and nuns and stabbing the Bishop of Baucau.
September 9, 1999
Elizabeth Becker and Philip Shenon, Washington – The United States is resisting direct threats of economic or military sanctions against Indonesia over the chaos in East Timor in hopes of preserving its relationship with that vast archipelago nation, even as the Clinton administration protests the chaos that has left hundreds of Timorese dead, senior officials said.
Sydney – Indonesian military were rounding up East Timorese on the main Indonesian island of Java, one of Australia's leading pro-Timor activists said Thursday.
Jakarta – Antiforeigner sentiments marked a series of demonstrations which took place across the capital on Wednesday.
John McBeth and Margot Cohen, Jakarta – On a late-August evening, senior officials of Golkar, Indonesia's ruling party, filed out into the dark after a five-hour conclave at the home of President B.J. Habibie. The official word was that the beleaguered and embattled party now stood united. In truth, its members were deeply split.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – The looting never stops. It's brazen now: soldiers, police and militia are stealing whatever they can carry.
September 8, 1999
Bernard Lagan, Darwin – Eyewitnesses have told how the Indonesian military combined with militias in Dili to storm Catholic Church and Red Cross compounds, forcing out thousands of East Timorese people sheltering there.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – There are not many of us left, here in the United Nations' besieged compound. It seems the military's operation, to terrify the UN and media out of Dili, is running right on schedule.
Jakarta – Enforcing a state of emergency in East Timor will not improve the situation because the military is unlikely to be neutral, said a former military commander in the province.
Jakarta – The rupiah breached on Monday the 8,000 level against the US dollar as international pressure increased over Indonesia's handling of the East Timor issue.
Currency dealers said investors dumped their Indonesian currency over concerns that the growing pressure would prompt donors to suspend loans to Indonesia.
Compere: Rafael Epstein has also been speaking to Inga Lemp, who was based in Baukau for the past month. She's been telling Rafael Epstein of conversations that she followed on a radio scanner.
Darwin – An American UN worker recovering in an Australian hospital after being wounded in East Timor said Wednesday that he was shot by an Indonesian soldier.
Earl Candler was airlifted to the northern Australian city of Darwin after being shot twice in the abdomen while driving in an unmarked UN vehicle through the town of Liquica four days ago.
September 6, 1999
The Democratic Socialist Party calls on all supporters of democracy to mobilise to demand that the Australian government insist that the United Nations authorise the immediate dispatch of Australian troops to East Timor.
The Indonesian military – presented to the world as providing security while East Timor prepares for independence – is in fact orchestrating the brutal campaign of killings and intimidation, according to secret United Nations assessments.
September 5, 1999
Dili – There were no smiles of celebration on the faces of the East Timorese in the capital Dili today when the results of the historic independence ballot were announced.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – East Timorese have voted overwhelmingly to end Indonesia's rule of their territory and become one of the world's newest, and smallest, independent countries. But violent pro-Indonesia militias gave the pro-independence majority little chance to celebrate.
Paul Daley – The resounding pro-independence result of East Timor's autonomy ballot yesterday allowed Alexander Downer to say what has been on the minds of foreign ministers since Indonesia invaded, then annexed, the territory 24 years ago.
At least 20 people have been killed and the western East Timorese town of Maliana set ablaze and all but destroyed.
An Australian observer who left the town early this afternoon in an armed convoy of Indonesian police said over 200 houses were burning in the town and over 100 people had taken refuge in the Indonesian police compound.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – It was the birth of a nation, the victorious end to a 24-year struggle for independence. But in Dili today no champagne was flowing, few people were rejoicing.
September 4, 1999
Jakarta – Indonesian opposition leader and presidential candidate Megawati Sukarnoputri said Saturday she was "very sad" East Timor had voted overwhelmingly for independence.
Megawati, who had opposed the separation of East Timor, said she was "very concerned and very sad about the autonomy ballot's result," the Suara Pembaruan evening daily reported.
New York, Friday: East Timor voted overwhelmingly to break its ties with Indonesia in favour of independence, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced here tonight.
More than 23 years after Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony, the voters rejected wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia by 78.5 percent, he said.
Ian Timberlake, Dili – Furious United Nations staff – evacuated from Maliana following the murders of two UN poll workers in the district – yesterday blasted Indonesian police for doing nothing while anti-independence militiamen rampaged.
Jakarta – Leader of the National Council for East Timorese Resistance (CNRT) Xanana Gusmao hails the Aug. 30 ballot results as a victory for all East Timorese and calls for an immediate presence of an international force in East Timor to protect the people from the Indonesian Military (TNI).
Dili – Shots rang out in the East Timorese capital Saturday as roaming gangs of pro-Indonesian militiamen forestalled any celebrations of the territory's historic vote for independence.
Craig Skehan, Jakarta – Differences have emerged within the Indonesian Government over whether international peacekeepers could be needed in East Timor after tomorrow's announcement of results from the self-determination ballot.
Dili – Hundreds of pro-Indonesian militiamen roamed through the East Timorese capital Dili early Saturday as fear gripped the territory with the United Nations announcing an overwhelming vote in favour of independence.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – A skinny boy in filthy threadbare clothes hangs around my hotel. Ameu, 10, is a good kid, keeping an eye on my room when I am out. He has suffered a great deal; both his mother and father are dead. This morning he was running his finger along the blade of a sharp dagger. I asked him where he got it but he just shrugged. "I will not be killed," he said.
Jakarta – President B.J. Habibie pledged Saturday to honor East Timor's decision to reject Indonesia's offer for a special autonomy and ordered the military and police to maintain law and order in the territory until the United Nations assumes transitional authority pending elections for a new government.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Indonesia's armed forces have long used street gangs and self-styled militia to do their dirty work, with East Timor simply providing a contemporary example of a pattern which goes back to at least the 1940s.
Many of the army's earliest leaders themselves came from the local militia set up by the Japanese occupying forces during World War II.
September 3, 1999
Mark Dodd, Gleno – Indonesian authorities have lost control of the strategic coffee-growing district town of Gleno which is now in the hands of hundreds of pro-Jakarta militia.
Yesterday afternoon a Herald journalist saw widespread destruction of property, including houses burning, and militia checkpoints throughout the town.
Jakarta – Police fired warning shots to stop a convoy of 2,000 people heading for a rally in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province, press reports said Friday.
Mark Riley, New York – The Indonesian ambassador to the United Nations was ordered to appear before a special session of the Security Council yesterday to face international anger over his country's handling of the East Timor bloodshed.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – When Indonesia-backed militias go on the rampage in East Timor, threatening the United Nations, the East Timorese and local and foreign observers, reactions in Jakarta vary from outright denial to ashamed recognition of national failure.
Jonathan Head --The militiamen simply appeared out of nowhere, and set upon us. We ran as fast as we could, and I sought shelter with my colleagues behind a building. I don't entirely recall what happened, though I gather colleagues of mine saw me being beaten. I think I'm quite lucky to be alive.
Jakarta – Indonesian forest and ground fires in Sumatra and Borneo island are on the rise again after dissipating in recent rains, satellite images produced by the Indonesia Space Agency showed Friday.
David Jenkins – The Indonesian Government was in disarray yesterday over the escalating violence in East Timor, with the civilian government of President B. J. Habibie wringing its hands and hinting at a possible foreign peacekeeping force as an increasingly defiant army showed no sign it was willing to stop instigating the unrest.