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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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January 7, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 7, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian military has released most of the scores of villagers detained in a sweep of separatist targets in troubled Aceh province, a rights official said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - January 7, 1999

Jakarta – Mob violence rocked two cities in the Indonesian provinces of Central Java and West Kalimantan, leaving a dozen people injured, including one with a gunshot wound, reports said here Thursday.

Lusa - January 7, 1999

Lisbon – The senior commander of the East Timorese guerrilla movement has rejected all attempts to split or discredit the occupied territory's resistance to domination by Indonesia.

Straits Times - January 7, 1999

Jakarta – Students from Java, Lampung and Bali issued a defiant New Year statement vowing to continue with demonstrations this year as a means to maintain pressure on the government, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

The American Reporter - January 7, 1999

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian military commander Gen. Wiranto managed to consolidate his power base after launching a major reshuffle of his command structure that involves 100 officers.

Political observers said the reshuffle announced on Monday had practically sidelined officers who are closely associated to Wiranto's archrival, ousted Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto.

January 6, 1999

Australian Associated Press - January 6, 1999

Canberra – Hundreds of East Timorese were fleeing the countryside because of ongoing civilian killings and torture by the Indonesian military, it was alleged today.

The fresh allegations of atrocities were contained in videotapes smuggled out of the former Portuguese island colony and broadcast nationally by SBS.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 1999

Jakarta – The dominant party Golkar begged on Tuesday that the powerful Armed Forces (ABRI) reconsider its expressed stance of no longer supporting any political parties, including Golkar, in the coming polls.

January 5, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 5, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian president B.J. Habibie on Tuesday lashed out at the country's press here Tuesday, accusing it of exaggerated and unbalanced reporting that threatened to spread confusion and unrest.

Agence France Presse - January 5, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie Tuesday defended a much-criticized government plan to raise a 40,000-strong civilian militia saying it was urgently needed to uphold law and security.

Reuters - January 5, 1999 (abridged)

Tomi Soetjipto, Jakarta – Indonesian troops opened fire to disperse a mob near a separatist's home in the troubled province of Aceh whom they claim masterminded weekend violence in which nine people died, witnesses and the military said on Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - January 5, 1999

Jakarta – The ruling Golkar is holding out for the right of the country's four million public servants to join political parties, turning its back on mounting calls for the bureaucracy's neutrality in elections.

January 4, 1999

Jakarta Post - January 4, 1999

Jakarta – The Jakarta Police shot 191 suspected criminals for various reasons in 1998, killing 90 of them, but its chief said the action was justified in every incident.

Agence France Presse - January 4, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Nearly 50 inmates escaped from a prison in Indonesia's troubled province of Aceh, the state Antara news agency reported Monday.

The 47 inmates pushed through the main gate of the Jantho prison in Aceh Besar district Sunday as guards escorted out two visitors. Five guards were threatened by some of the inmates, who were armed with knives.

Amerian Reporter - January 4, 1999 (abridged)

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – About two weeks after Indonesian strongman Suharto stepped down from his 32-year presidency, Indonesian editor, poet and political activist Goenawan Mohamad brought his lieutenants to a villa in the scenic Puncak area in the southern belt of Jakarta.

Agence France Presse - January 4, 1999 (abridged)

Dili – Two men were killed and five wounded in East Timor when supporters of a referendum on the future of the troubled territory clashed with an armed militia backing autonomy, a source said Monday.

Militia members at a security post in Ainaro district fired into a mob of about 100 people late on Sunday after warning shots were ignored, the source here said.

January 3, 1999

Agence France Presse - January 3, 1999

Jakarta – Rumours of deaths in police custody and anti-Chinese tensions sparked new unrest in Indonesia, reports said Sunday. One mob set ablaze a police post and a store in Java while another shop was ransacked by angry Moslems on the island of Sulawesi.

Agence France Presse - January 3, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – New unrest has been sparked in several Indonesian towns by rumours of deaths in police custody, environmental pollution and anti-Chinese tensions, reports said Sunday.

Reuters - January 3, 1999

Jakarta – Nine civilians were killed and 23 seriously injured when Indonesian troops fired on "separatists" Sunday after a mob attacked a government building in the rebellious province of Aceh, local police said. Witnesses and human rights groups had earlier put the death toll at six.

Agence France Presse - January 3, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian military found a body believed to be the fourth of seven soldiers killed in an apparent ambush in the troubled province of Aceh as a search continued for two marine hostages, officials said Sunday.

January 2, 1999

Associated Press - January 2, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia freed 42 political prisoners in a New Year's amnesty and plans to revoke a key legal weapon once used to bolster the rule of former President Suharto, local media reported Saturday.

The moves are part of a reform program led by Suharto's successor, President B.J. Habibie, who has been targeted by student protesters demanding swifter democratic change.

Agence France Presse - January 2, 1999

Jakarta – Violence marred New Year celebrations in at least four towns in the Indonesian province of West Java which saw looting and vandalism while revellers threw fireworks at passing motorists, newspapers said Saturday. Unrest broke out in the towns of Sukabumi, Bandung, Cilegon and Garut, but no casualties were reported, the newspapers said.

Agence France Presse - January 2, 1999

Jakarta – A political fight was looming here Saturday over the likely disqualification of scores of new political parties from taking part in the first general elections since the fall of Suharto.

January 1, 1999

Canberra Times - January 1, 1999

When Indonesia's Attorney General, Andi Mohamad Ghalib, formally named former president Suharto on December 23 last year as a suspect in a corruption case over a tax-exempt national car project, most politically aware Indonesians knew not to expect too much.

December 31, 1998

South China Morning Post - December 31, 1998

Mark Dodd, Jakarta – On the eve of today's resumption of the trial of 11 Indonesian special forces soldiers for abducting political activists, one of their alleged victims relived his ordeal at their hands.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia will release and rehabilitate 62 political prisoners including 20 East Timorese in the coming week, but East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao will not be among those freed, Justice Minister Muladi said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian military on Thursday sent hundreds of troops into troubled Aceh province to search for the bodies of seven soldiers killed in an ambush and find three others held hostage.

Agence France Presse - December 31, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A crowd of people were holding three military men hostage in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province Thursday, two days after an ambush there left at least five off-duty soliders dead, reports and sources said Thursday.

December 30, 1998

Jakarta Post - December 30, 1998

Jakarta – Reoccupation of land by grassroots people and labor disputes following massive dismissals at many companies due to the monetary crisis were just two of the highlights during the year in Greater Jakarta.

Wall Street Journal - December 30, 1998

Richard Borsuk – They were almost as close to former Indonesian President Suharto as his own family, and their business successes showed it: Beneficiaries of monopolies, state licenses and the strongman's generosity with national assets, Mohamad "Bob" Hasan and Liem Sioe Liong were billionaires during the 32-year Suharto regime.

Agence France Presse - December 30, 1998

Jakarta - Seven off-duty soldiers in western Indonesia's troubled Aceh province were tortured and killed in an ambush which the military said Wednesday was orchestrated by separatists.

Agence France Presse - December 30, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's police declared "zero tolerance" on looters and would shoot at offenders, admitting Wednesday warnings against rampant plundering of food trucks and stores had been futile.

Agence France Presse - December 30, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have estimated that more than 500 million dollars had been lost by the state to graft, most of it to members and cronies of the family of fallen president Suharto.

December 29, 1998

Agence France Presse - December 29, 1998

Jakarta – Police and troops patrolled two Indonesian towns Tuesday after new riots left hundreds injured in Lampung, Central Sulawesi and North Sumatra provinces.

Business Times - December 29, 1998

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – Indonesia will once again look to the international community for massive financial help in 1999 as the country continues to grapple with worsening political and social conditions which threaten to undermine its economic recovery and tear apart its social fabric.

Jakarta Post - December 29, 1998

Jakarta – Observers predicted on Monday that labor conditions would worsen next year due to the prolonged economic and political crises, warning that an unemployment rate of 38 million out of the total work force of 90 million represented a ticking time bomb.

American Reporter - December 29, 1998

Andreas Harsono, Salatiga – Two boys were taking a nap as three men waited for the heavy tropical rain to stop under a red-and-black shelter in this city last week. Quietly, one man said, "We're lucky to have this bamboo shelter."

Agence France Presse - December 29, 1998

Jakarta – Former Indonesian president Suharto, his relatives and associates own almost nine million hectares (22.2 million acres) of forest land, and the family owns 204,983 hectares of prime real estate across the country, press reports said Tuesday.

Sydney Morning Herald - December 29, 1998

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Pressure is mounting on the Government of Dr B.J. Habibie to force the return to Indonesia of Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto, the son-in-law of former president Soeharto, to face allegations that he ordered the kidnapping and torture of pro-democracy activists.

December 28, 1998

Reuters - December 28, 1998 (slightly abridged)

Medan – Indonesian police on Monday opened fire on hundreds of farmers who occupied a state plantation on the island of Sumatra and also clashed with villagers in a strife-hit region of Sulawesi to bring a mass brawl under control.

Agence France Presse - December 28, 1998

Jakarta – All but 15 out of the 120 or so political parties that have mushroomed since the fall of Indonesian president Suharto are likely to be disqualified from the June elections if parliament endorses government proposals, a senior minister said Monday.

Agence France Presse - December 28, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian police on Monday summoned a leading student activist for questioning in a controversial subversion case involving 11 prominent public figures accused of instigating unrest.

Jakarta Post - December 28, 1998

Jakarta – Muslim scholars Abdurrahman Wahid and Emha Ainun Nadjib have issued dire warnings of chaos and even bloodshed in the run-up to the general election in June 1999 unless a national dialog for reconciliation was held to head off the danger.

December 27, 1998

Reuters - December 27, 1998

Jakarta – An angry mob set fire to a discotheque and damaged shops selling liquor in Christmas violence on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, government officials and residents said on Sunday.

Itar/Tass - December 27, 1998

Madrid – Portuguese lawyers on Saturday demanded the extradition of Indonesia's ex-president Suharto to bring him to court for genocide of the population of East Timor, Portugal's former colony.

Agence France Presse - December 27, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian Justice Minister Muladi said Monday the country's new government may be open to the return of hundreds who fled the country in the 1960s after being charged with being communists.

December 26, 1998

Agence France Presse - December 26, 1998

Jakarta – A leading Indonesian human rights watchdog Saturday lashed out at the court martial of 11 soldiers on charges of abducting activists as "simplistic," and demanded that their commanding officers also be dragged to court.

December 25, 1998

Business Week - December 25, 1998

There are days when Teungku Bintara wonders how he ever survived. For six months in 1990 and 1991 he languished in a military prison camp in Indonesia's Aceh province. One day, Bintara, then the headman of a nearby village, was put inside a room whose walls were splattered with human blood and hair.

December 23, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - December 23, 1998

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Indonesia's President, Dr B.J. Habibie, has ordered prosecutors to target Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto, the son-in-law of deposed president Soeharto, over the abductions of at least 24 political activists earlier this year.

Jakarta Post - December 23, 1998

Jakarta – The government plans to increase regional minimum wages by between 10 percent and 20 percent next April.

Agence France Presse - December 23, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian government on Wednesday signed a letter of intent with the International Labor Organization (ILO) pledging to ratify three more human rights conventions.