Special UN troops are likely to be sent to East Timor in March to disarm pro-integration and anti-integration civilian groups. It is evident that as long as arms are in the hands of civilan groups, shooting and killings will continue.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
February 27, 1999
February 26, 1999
Jakarta – The political party founded by independent labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan yesterday announced it will nominate opposition figurehead Megawati Soekarnoputri for the presidency.
After nearly 25 years of violent friction between Jakarta and East Timor freedom fighters, the suddenly frank dialogue between the rival sides in recent days has been remarkable. It started when President B.J. Habibie commented in late January that he would recommend to Indonesia's next legislature that East Timor be granted independence if an offer of autonomy was rejected.
Jakarta – The Indonesian authorities registered 141 Indonesian political parties in the first stage of filtering down numbers for the country's key June 7 national election, reports said Friday.
Jakarta – Community leaders from the far-eastern Indonesian province of Irian Jaya met President B.J. Habibie on Friday, some asking for independence for the resource-rich western half of New Guinea island.
But the 100-strong delegation was split, with some members instead pushing for autonomy within Indonesia instead.
Geoffrey Barker, Bali – "We have crossed the Rubicon. We are relaxed ... We have put every card on the table. There has been a sea change in the Indonesian position. We are not afraid."
February 25, 1999
Dili – Several thousand pro-independence supporters marched solemnly Thursday in East Timor's capital of Dili with the bodies of two activists who were slain in a clash.
Violence between rival groups has escalated in the former Portuguese colony since Indonesia offered last month to consider independence for the territory if the East Timorese reject an autonomy offer.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Pressure is mounting on President B.J. Habibie to clarify the substance of an alleged telephone conversation with his Attorney-General over investigations into former leader Suharto's wealth, as a senior opposition figure called for a parliamentary probe which could lead to impeachment proceedings.
Jakarta – After a meeting between three [government] bodies on Wednesday afternoon (24/2), the State Intelligence Coordinating Body (Bakin), the Department of Justice Political Party Registration Council (Depkeh) and the Political General Directorate of the Department of Home Affairs (Depdagri), the People's Democratic Party (PRD), has been officially registered as a political party
Ambon – Boats carrying hundreds of refugees left a riot-torn Indonesian town today after deadly fighting between Muslims and Christians. At least 24 people have died in unrest in the region this week, a newspaper reported.
Ambon – About 700 people Friday held protests against security shootings on civilians here as Moslem-Christian violence that has so far claimed at least 18 lives entered its fourth day.
Jakarta – Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he discussed with East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao ways to reduce the violence in the province.
Dili – After being dogged by waves of conflict, East Timorese figures from both the pro-integration and pro-independence sides yesterday signed the Peace Declaration of the East Timorese for Peace Association (KOTBD) in Dili, witnessed by Tamrad Samuel, representing the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker.
Jakarta – Two pro-Indonesian East Timorese militia leaders Thursday sent a blunt warning to Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer threatening the lives of Australian diplomats and journalists.
Karen Polglaze, Jakarta – Australia and Indonesia now shared policy positions on the troubled territory of East Timor, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in Jakarta today.
February 24, 1999
[The following is a statement by Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, on Indonesia orchestrated violence in East Timor.]
[The following is a statement by the President of the CNRT, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Commander of Falintil on Indonesia orchestrated violence in East Timor.]
Jakarta – Once again we are being forced to shed tears of blood, but each drop of blood must motivate us to fight for peace!
On 28 January 1999, Parliament adopted three laws to replace the five political laws promulgated in 1985. The laws are about the elections, political parties and the composition of the parliament, the people's consultative assembly and the regional assemblies.
Jakarta – It is truly difficult to differentiate the Suharto New Order with the Habibie "Reform" Order.
Jakarta – Minister of Defense/Armed Forces Commander Gen. Wiranto said on Tuesday he would summon Lt. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto, former chief of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), to question' him about a meeting at Kostrad headquarters one day after violent rioting in the capital.
Jakarta – An Indonesian rights groups on Wednesday alleged that a military court martial of 11 officers was being rigged to avoid prosecuting a son-in-law of former president Suharto, a release said.
Jakarta – More than 1,000 workers at an Indonesian household appliances company were laid off after staging a nine-day protest in the eastern city of Surabaya to demand pay rises, legal aid officers and press reports said Wednesday.
Yusuf Puteh, the chair of the East Aceh Human Rights Forum (FP-HAM Aceh Timur) said his organisation believes that dozens of bodies are still lying at the bottom of Arakundo River, victims of the killings in Idi Cut on 3 February.
Jakarta – Shoot-on-sight orders were issued to police as the death toll in fresh violence between two ethnic groups in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan rose to five when a mob attacked a police post, reports and police said Wednesday.
Jakarta – East Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao will be allowed to leave the Jakarta residence where he is kept under house arrest for talks on the future of his bloodied homeland, an Indonesian official said on Wednesday.
February 23, 1999
Canberra – Irian Jaya's expectations of self determination had been raised by a softening of Indonesia's stance on East Timor, a leading church official said today.
Executive member of the World Council of Churches, Clement John, said he had perceived a definite change in expectation in a recent trip to Irian Jaya.
Jeremy Wagstaff, Legok – The inhabitants of this flyblown hamlet are angry. They are angry about rising prices, the lack of jobs, and lingering government corruption, says village headman Effendi bin Musa. They are even annoyed with the ineffectiveness of Mr. Effendi himself, he concedes. But what really made the feathers fly was the price of chickens.
Nusa Dua – Indonesia has agreed to allow Australia to reopen a consulate in East Timor as part of a push to settle the future of the troubled territory, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Wednesday.
Bandung – Student leaders agreed on Sunday after a three-day meeting to support the upcoming general election, which they have deemed unfair for being based on defective political laws, as they said to call off the election would lead to more trouble.
Jonathan Head, Ambon – One man has been killed and seven injured on the Indonesian island of Ambon after the security forces opened fire during renewed inter-religious fighting.
The clash broke out after two Muslim-owned houses were burnt down in the city of Ambon.
Dili – Four people have been killed and five wounded in separate incidents in the East Timor districts of Maubara and Balibo, a top East Timorese resistance official told Lusa Tuesday.
[The following is a translation by US based human rights activist, John Rossa, of reports from the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in Dili, East Timor.]
February 22, 1999
Ujungpandang – Regional police chiefs in Indonesia will be sacked if they defy an order from Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) Commander General Wiranto to shoot rioters and criminals on the spot, says an official.
National Police Chief General Roesmanhadi yesterday said all military personnel must obey all instructions issued by their superiors.
Jakarta – Politicians, public figures and university rectors in Central Java have recommended that parties be permitted to campaign on campuses in the run-up to the June 7 general election.
The agreement was reached in a discussion at Amanda Hotel in Bandungan city over the weekend. It was attended by representatives of 112 universities in the province.
Kasa – About 1,500 pro-Indonesian demonstrators rallied Monday in East Timor to voice their support for autonomy and rejection of independence for the troubled territory.
Tensions have been rising in the former Portuguese colony amid fears of an escalation in fighting between groups that want to stay part of Indonesia or break away from it.
Jakarta – A son of former President Suharto has been charged with corruption, along with a former senior official and another businessman, an Indonesian official said Monday.
Jakarta – An Indonesian military court on Monday sentenced four soldiers to between 24 and 30 months jail for torturing civilian detainees in Aceh province, a report said.
Jakarta – A mass fight between two neighbouring villages in West Java left one man dead, eight others injured and more than 100 houses damaged, a report said here Monday.
The fight between people from Danamulya and Kedungsana villages in the Cirebon district on the northern coast of West Java erupted on Friday, the Suara Karya daily said.
February 21, 1999
Jakarta – Scores of Indonesian students held a vigil at a university here Sunday to mark 100 days after the violent shooting of student demonstrators late last year.
Jakarta – Indonesia's minister of economy, industry and finance has clarified Jakarta's position on the Timor Gap, a potentially oil-rich offshore region, saying that "if East Timor chooses to separate from Indonesia, then the Gap region will automatically belong to East Timor".
Jakarta – Underscoring its high-profile role in the country, the Indonesian military has warned it would not tolerate any attempt to disrupt upcoming elections and told workers that instead of staging protests, they should help maintain security and order.
February 20, 1999
Dili – At least 250 members of the People's Security (Kamra) force who have just completed their training will be posted in six police districts (Polres) in East Timor, a police spokesman said.
Che Guevara once said that a crucial problem for armed guerrillas was the ability to survive and keep a check on their bevahiour. This humane aspect of the guerrilla struggle is an integral part of the 23 year struggle of the Falintil guerrillas.
The children of East Timor, far from being the hope for the future, may be the problem. Louise Williams travelled to a country suddenly on the verge of independence to find a generation schooled in violence.
Stephen Vines, Hong Kong – Britain has offered to send troops and money to East Timor for a United Nations-sponsored peace-keeping force. The troops would be deployed in the event of an Indonesian withdrawal, which might take place by the end of this year.
The fact that many Indonesians look in quite a jovial mood these days does not mean that the devastating economic crisis has ended. They simply say they have a jocular topic in their daily conversation: the leakage of a telephone conversation between President B.J. Habibie and Attorney General Andi M.
Atika Shubert, Dili – Civil war, 23 years of Indonesian military occupation and more than 300 years of Portuguese colonialism have bequeathed an unexpected boon to the tiny territory of East Timor, and one that may be the key to its hotly debated independence: some of the world's most sought after coffee beans.
Jakarta – Indonesian police in the troubled province of East Timor will open registration for a second batch of 250 civilian militiamen to assist its operations there, the Antara news agency said Saturday.
February 19, 1999
Balibo – Thousands of pro-Indonesian East Timorese vowed Friday to defend the troubled territory's integration with Indonesia.
"Integration for us is an independence that will lead the East Timor people to prosperity," said a declaration issued during the rally in Balibo, a town near Bobonaro, which is 165 kilometers west of the provincial capital of Dili.
Jakarta – After more than two weeks of investigation directly following the unrest, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has concluded that the January 19- 23 Ambon riots were, as widely suspected, engineered.