Richard Lloyd Parry, Dili – Even before the automatic rifles started firing late yesterday afternoon, the scene around the United Nations headquarters in the East Timorese capital, Dili, was close to anarchy.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
September 3, 1999
Jakarta – At least three people were killed and 14 others wounded Friday when Indonesian security forces opened fire to quell a new outbreak of Moslem-Christian in the strife-torn Ambon city, a report said.
Jakarta – Consumer prices in Indonesia fell 0.93 percent in August from July, the sixth consective monthly fall this year, Central Bureau of Statistics chief Sugito Suwito said Friday.
Exports in July were worth 3.971 billion dollars, up from 3.559 billion dollars in June, he added, while imports in the month totalled 1.964 billion dollars against 1.895 billion in June.
September 2, 1999
Dili – Hundreds of anti-independence militiamen blocked the street outside the UN headquarters in East Timor's capital Wednesday, setting on fire a nearby house and shooting cars driving into the UN compound.
A taxi carrying journalists to the scene was fired on and had its rear window smashed by militiamen.
Joanna Jolly and Agencies in Dili – Anarchy returned to East Timor's capital yesterday with at least five people killed as hundreds of anti-independence militiamen targeted the United Nations. The violence came as the counting of votes from the autonomy referendum began.
Hamish McDonald – In Dili's airport, members of the Aitarak militia stand in the departure lounge, preventing Timorese and Indonesian families boarding the Merpati Airlines jet to fly to Denpasar and safety. Airport police just watch.
September 1, 1999
Lindsay Murdoch – Pro-integration forces blockaded Dili airport and set up roadblocks around the East Timorese capital late yesterday amid unconfirmed reports that militia had killed two more United Nations staff.
Ambon – Fresh outbreaks of violence between Moslems and Christian Wednesday killed eight people and injured six others in two separate islands in the riot-torn Maluku province, police said.
Jakarta – Indonesia's leading pro-Moslem newspaper on Tuesday called the UN-run independence ballot in East Timor a conspiracy to undermine the world's most populous Moslem nation.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Elections Committee (PPI) on Wednesday finally agreed seat allocations for the national parliament elected on June 7.
Mark Dodd, Dili – Thousands of Jakarta supporters in East Timor have packed their belongings, locked their homes and fled across the border into Indonesian West Timor in fear of renewed bloodshed following Monday's ballot.
Despite fears of militia intimidation, the people of East Timor turned out in their thousands to vote yesterday on independence. David Shanks reports from Maliana.
In one of East Timor's most populous and strategic border areas, people power yesterday seemed to blow away the militias.
August 31, 1999
Paul Daley, Canberra – Australia has rejected advances from the United States to cooperate on peacekeeping plans for strife-torn East Timor. The diplomatic snub comes as Washington considers whether to send the Marines into East Timor if a United Nations peacekeeping force is needed.
Dili – Indonesian authorities on Tuesday deported four Australian journalists from East Timor, accusing them of inciting violence during the territory's autonomy ballot, a military official said.
London – The British government was forced Tuesday to defend a decision to invite Indonesia to Britain's biggest arms fair, after it emerged that British-made jets were used to intimidate people in East Timor.
Craig Skehan – Jostled by a media frenzy and a crowd of supporters, Mr Xanana Gusmao, the nationalist fighter almost certain to lead an independent East Timor, received a hero's welcome as he voted here yesterday.
The 53-year-old – imprisoned in 1992 for his guerilla action, but transferred to house arrest earlier this year – is expected to be freed in about a fortnight.
Jakarta – An Indonesian group Tuesday slammed world bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for failing to sound the alarm over an 80-million-dollar bank scam, despite closely monitoring the Indonesian economy.
August 30, 1999
Born June 6, 1901 in Surabaya; 1927 - Founds movement for independence from the Dutch; 1945 - After Japanese surrender, declares independence and is elected President; 1963 - Names himself President for Life; 1965 - Overthrown by military takeover and later replaced by Suharto; 1970 - Dies June 21 in Jakarta after two years of house arrest.
Steven Gan – Today the people will decide. After 23 years of brutal Indonesian occupation, East Timorese will be given a choice: independence or autonomy. Some 450,000 people are due to vote in a historic referendum to either opt for a union with Indonesia or to put their half-island on the road to eventual independence.
Banda Aceh – Inspired by East Timor's independence referendum, students occupied a government building Monday, demanding a similar vote in the violence-torn Indonesian province of Aceh.
President B.J. Habibie, however, repeated that he would not allow a referendum in Aceh where hundreds have been killed this year in fighting between the military and separatists.
Eric Ellis, Singapore – Every time Christovita Wiloto sits down at his computer, the 30-year-old banker is reminded of how tough his job is. His screensaver depicts hungry sharks circling their prey – a wry metaphor for the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.
August 29, 1999
Washington – US President Bill Clinton has warned the president of Indonesia that relations with the US will be seriously damaged – including an implicit threat to curtail international aid – if there is mass violence during next week's referendum on self-rule in East Timor, The New York Times reported Saturday, citing senior administration officials.
Jakarta – It is a murky tale which strikes deep at the even murkier heart of Indonesian banking, and heavyweights of international finance warn it could spell ruin for Southeast Asia's shakiest economy.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Australia's senior observers have given a gloomy assessment of Monday's historic ballot on the future of East Timor, but said there was no alternative but to press ahead.
August 28, 1999
Jakarta – The savage riots that swept Indonesia in mid-May before the fall of ex-president Suharto were organized by professional agitators, Jakarta's governor was Friday quoted as saying. "They were organized," Governor Sutiyoso was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying in a two-hour hearing at the Justice Ministry with a government-sponsored fact-finding team.
Craig Skehan – The Indonesian Government has hit back at foreign critics of the upsurge in violence in East Timor, arguing it does not need outside pressure over its handing of Monday's ballot on self-determination in the territory.
Jakarta – Fires which have resumed in Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan regions have ravaged at least 5,561 hectares of forest and scrub in the past month, a report said Saturday.
Militiamen strutted the capital's streets yesterday, a day after going on a deadly rampage, as a final rally in the campaign for next week's vote fell victim to the violence.
Armed police were on guard, but there was no sign of a planned joint rally by supporters and opponents of independence on the last day of official campaigning for Monday's autonomy ballot.
The battle for the hearts and minds – and votes – of the East Timorese people will not lose its passion, writes Hamish McDonald from Dili, even after Monday's referendum.
Mark Dodd, Dili – Under intense diplomatic pressure, Jakarta has recalled from Dili a senior intelligence officer alleged to be a key figure behind militia activity in East Timor.
Dili – The United Nations on Friday led international condemnation of Indonesia's handling of militia violence in East Timor as an exiled separatist leader called for a UN peacekeeping force.
The United Nations demanded that Indonesia crack down on armed anti-independence militias trying to disrupt Monday's vote on East Timor's future.
Jakarta – Protests greeted a visit Saturday to the restive Aceh province by a delegation of Indonesian ministers and senior officials bringing aid for refugees fleeing violence between troops and Moslem rebels.
In the latest attack, four gunmen shot dead a soldier in Pidie district on Friday.
Brian Toohey – Australian policy makers have fought long and hard to get the international community to trust Indonesia's security forces to prevent a bloodbath in East Timor.
August 27, 1999
Mark Colvin: We begin the programme tonight in Dili, capital of East Timor, where there's been a major and ominous development involving a shoot-out involving pro-autonomy militias and pro-independence supporters. Our correspondent, Mark Bowling, was in the middle of it and he's just endured a fairly dangerous situation getting out of it. Mark joins me on the satellite phone now.
Lisbon – A photographer with US magazine Time said on Friday he had witnessed Indonesian police shoot dead a 25-year-old unarmed protester in the head during clashes in East Timor ahead of Monday's ballot on independence.
Mark Dodd – Something is rotten in the regency of Suai. About 3,000 East Timorese refugees are living in unsanitary conditions, without adequate food, water or medicine, crammed into the grounds of an unfinished church under grass roof humpies and plastic sheeting.
Joanna Jolly, Dili – It was after the thousands opposed to independence had paraded through Dili that a hard-core of several hundred militiamen showed the true colours of the pro-integration campaign.
Tim Dodd, Dili – United Nation officials are considering whether Monday's referendum for independence on East Timor can go ahead after pro-Indonesia militia groups fought pitched battles with independence supporters in Dili's streets yesterday afternoon, leaving at least three people dead.
Lisbon – The Indonesian army will fight to the last soldier if a UN peacekeeping force is sent to East Timor without Jakarta's approval, a senior Indonesian diplomat told the Portuguese news agency Lusa on Friday.
Jakarta – Scores of students in the easternmost Indonesian province of Irian Jaya have protested over the alleged involvement of British elite troops in a violent hostage-rescue operation in 1996, a report said Friday.
Peter Cole-Adams – Australia put military units on standby yesterday to evacuate about 200 Australians, and other foreign nationals, from East Timor after Monday's vote on the future of the province.
The Defence Minister, Mr Moore, and the Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, told their Indonesian counterparts, General Wiranto and Mr Ali Alatas, about the decision in advance.
August 26, 1999
Jakarta – Jailed East Timor resistance leader Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao promised on Wednesday to offer amnesty to his political opponents if East Timorese voted for independence on the August 30 ballot.
Antony Balmain – As East Timor prepares to vote in a United Nations ballot to decide its future, documents show Australia played an active and secret role to ensure Irian Jaya became a part of Indonesia in another UN-supervised vote – the so-called Act of Free Choice in 1969.
Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Indonesia's top officials in East Timor are preparing to reject the outcome of Monday's ballot on the territory's future, claiming the way the United Nations will count the votes is flawed.
August 25, 1999
Gay Alcorn, Washington – The Clinton administration said today that, on a practical level, it was too late for an armed United Nations peacekeeping force to enter East Timor before Monday's historic ballot, but said nothing about the possibility of a force immediately after the vote.
Tim Johnston, Dili – A leading opponent of East Timorese independence said on Tuesday that a narrow loss in next Monday's ballot on the future status of the troubled territory would lead to a renewed guerrilla war.
The warning came as Indonesia's military warned that militants on both sides were out to provoke violence in the troubled territory.
Jakarta – Logging and forest fires are destroying rainforests and the wildlife they support, government authorities and environmentalists warned yesterday.
Convinced they will win a historic UN-supervised referendum by a landslide next week, up to 10,000 jubilant supporters of independence for East Timor defied threats by rivals and choked the streets of Dili on Wednesday.
August 24, 1999
Peter Cole-Adams – The Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Downer, telephoned his Indonesian counterpart, Mr Ali Alatas, last night to repeat Australia's concern over security breakdowns in East Timor.
Jeremy Wagstaff, Dili – The United Nations mission in East Timor has refused applications by 24 Indonesian government-linked youth groups to send observers to this month's referendum on the future of East Timor, in a move likely to deepen a rift between the UN team and Jakarta.