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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 10, 1999

Jakarta Post - April 10, 1999

Jakarta – To pass the clean governance bill without giving substantial authority to an independent body to implement the power controls would be a pointless and abortive attempt to uproot corruption according to the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW).

April 9, 1999

Reuters - April 9, 1999 (abridged)

Ambon – An angry mob beheaded two people as the death toll mounted in Indonesia's far eastern Moluccas, residents and officials said on Friday.

The two were attacked on Thursday after they had disembarked from a ship at Tual, the main town on Kai Besar island, a local journalist who saw the bodies said.

AFX-ASIA - April 9, 1999

Bangkok – Indonesia is suffering severe food shortages and growing malnutrition brought on by rising social unrest and a deep economic crisis, the United Nations said in a report.

In a new report issued here, a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) mission called for more international food aid despite predicting a good rice harvest.

South China Morning Post - April 9, 1999

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Reports of the Liquica massacre in East Timor are beginning to overshadow resistance leader Xanana Gusmao's controversial statements earlier this week – which is just as well for the resistance leader's diplomatic standing.

Agence France Presse - April 9, 1999 (abridged)

United Nations - A senior UN official warned Friday amid escalating violence in East Timor that peace in the former Portuguese colony was a "prerequisite" for a UN-organized ballot.

Agence France Presse - April 9, 1999

Jakarta – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said here Friday threats to their security had prevented them from helping the victims of the Liquisa massacre in East Timor.

Reuters - April 9, 1999

Angela Tresnasari, Jakarta – Indonesia on Friday threatened to put East Timor guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao back in jail unless he retracted a call to arms within a week.

Justice Minister Muladi delivered the ultimatum four days after Gusmao, now under house arrest in Jakarta, called for an insurrection against Indonesian rule in his restive homeland.

April 8, 1999

Straits Times - April 8, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia yesterday reported a collapse in foreign investment approvals, a heavy economic blow blamed on fears of growing violence in the run-up to elections.

Investment Minister Hamzah Haz said foreign investment approvals between Jan 1 and March 15 had dropped 90 per cent to US$560 million from US$5.1 billion in the same period last year.

Reuters - April 8, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – About 2,000 workers in Indonesia's two largest cities demonstrated on Thursday to demand higher severance payments from firms struggling with a crippling economic crisis.

Agence France Presse - April 8, 1999

Padang – Two Indonesian communists walked free from their prison here Thursday after serving 33 years there for their alleged involvement in the 1965 coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

Agence France Presse - April 8, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Thirteen people were killed when Indonesian troops and police opened fire to fend off a mass attack by rioters in troubled West Kalimantan province, a report said Thursday.

Associated Press - April 8, 1999

Liquica – The church was no sanctuary. Neither was the priest's house, where for all their scrubbing, nuns had yet to wash away all the blood on Thursday.

Two days after pro-Indonesian militiamen invaded a church complex in East Timor, shooting and cutting down villagers, the massacre site was abandoned save for a few grazing goats and half a dozen nuns.

Lusa - April 8, 1999

Jakarta – Six East Timorese activists holed up in the Austrian embassy in Jakarta since September 1997 left the diplomatic premises on Tuesday, according to former FRETILIN president Abilio Araujo.

Reuters - April 8, 1999 (abridged)

Tommy Ardiansyah, Dili – Pro-Jakarta militias rallied in East Timor on Thursday, calling pro-independence leader Xanana Gusmao's call for popular insurrection an offer of war.

April 7, 1999

Agence France Presse - April 7, 1999

Dili – Nobel peace laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo accused Indonesian-backed militia on Wednesday of massacring more than 25 people in East Timor outside a church.

Australian Associated Press - April 7, 1999

Karen Polglaze, Dili – Behind a drooping curtain in a poorly-lit clinic in rural East Timor, a technician armed with a microscope and a belief in the World Health Organisation (WHO) is fighting to save lives.

Jakarta Post - April 7, 1999

Jakarta – After 34 years of negligence, Indonesia ratified on Tuesday the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In a plenary session here, the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed the bill on the ratification of the convention for President B.J. Habibie to sign into a I new law.

Agence France Presse - April 7, 1999

Jakarta – Several Indonesian political prisoners, including pro-democracy activist Budiman Sujatmiko, have gone on hunger strike to press their demand for a just and fair election in June, a report said Wednesday.

Agence France Presse - April 7, 1999

Jakarta – Dozens of Indonesian students Wednesday picketed the headquarters of the newly-formed General Election Commission and declared they would boycott the June 7 general elections, the first since the fall of Suharto.

Agence France Presse - April 7, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian police have arrested more than 100 people in West Kalimantan province on suspicion of arson and planning attacks on Madurese settlers, officials said Wednesday.

April 6, 1999

Sydney Morning Herald - April 6, 1999

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – In a dramatic escalation of violence in East Timor, the jailed resistance leader Jose "Xanana" Gusmao called on his supporters yesterday to take up arms and fight Indonesian-backed militia groups.

Agence France Presse - April 6, 1999

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Jakarta – Thousands of people attacked the homes of Madurese settlers and a police post in a new outbreak of ethnic unrest in troubled West Kalimantan province in Indonesian Borneo, residents and reports said Tuesday.

Agence France Presse - April 6, 1999

Jakarta – A military court on Tuesday handed jail sentences to 11 members of Indonesia's elite special Kopassus force found guilty of kidnapping nine pro-democracy activists in a trial sharply criticised by human rights activists.

Australian Financial Review - April 6, 1999

Peter Hartcher – Indonesia's former president, Mr Soeharto, has deliberately helped provoke recent violence and bloodshed as a political tactic, one of Indonesia's key Islamic leaders has alleged.

The presidential candidate Dr Amien Rais said he suspected Mr Soeharto of destabilising parts of Indonesia as a way of delaying or disrupting the national election due on June 7.

Straits Times - April 6 1999

Surabaya – Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung has warned of reprisals after ruling-party supporters were attacked for the second time in two days.

CNRT press release - April 6, 1999

Jakarta – The following information reached the office of the CNRT President, Xanana Gusmco at 9.30pm (Jakarta time):

Reuters - April 6, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Tuesday accused pro-independence East Timorese of a disinformation campaign to portray Jakarta as destroying moves to peacefully resolve the territory's future.

Agence France Presse - April 6, 1999

United Nations – The United Nations on Tuesday issued a new appeal to the East Timorese and Indonesia not to derail political talks but rejected a call for a UN peacekeeping force to stop violence.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "seriously concerned by continuing reports from East Timor of an escalation of violence," his spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement.

April 5, 1999

Agence France Presse - April 5, 1999

Jakarta – The registration of millions of voters for Indonesia's crucial June 7 elections got off to a sluggish start here Monday with few registrants and many areas awaiting delivery of registration papers.

Agence France Presse - April 5, 1999

Jakarta – Twenty charred bodies were found Monday in homes set on fire during new Moslem-Christian unrest in the Maluku islands, taking the death toll to 55, a report said.

CNRT Press Statement - April 5, 1999

For the past couple of months, we have received daily information pointing to a deterioration of the situation in East Timor.

Today, we received new information that civilian militias backed up by ABRI opened fire this morning on the population in Mauboke (Maubara, Liquica district, west of Dili), killing four and seriously injuring at least seven others.

Lusa - April 5, 1999

Jakarta – Pro-Indonesia militiamen and troops killed at least 17 people, wounding dozens more, in an attack Monday on an East Timorese village near Liquiga, a resistance spokesman told Lusa.

Agence France Presse - April 5, 1999

Washington – The State Department on Monday called "dangerous and troubling" news that detained East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao now favors a return to armed struggle.

Spokesman James Rubin also voiced US concern about continuing violence in the former Portuguese territory.

Agence France Presse - April 5, 1999

Jakarta – The trials of an Indonesian official and a businessman charged with corruption linked to a land exchange scheme involving a son of former president Suharto opened Monday.

April 4, 1999

Jakarta Post - April 4, 1999

Jakarta – Religious clashes in the Southeast Maluku town of Tual have claimed at least 11 and injured 50, police and hospital sources said Friday.

Head of the Tual General Hospital, Nona Notanubun, told Antara that a priest, Butje Hehanussa, and his two sons, Hensen Hehanussa and Dani, were killed as a result of machete attacks on Wednesday.

April 3, 1999

Agence France Presse - April 3, 1999

Jakarta – A planned meeting of Indonesia's ruling Golkar party in East Java was cancelled after supporters of another party trashed the venue and ambushed the participants as they made their way there, a report said Saturday.

April 2, 1999

Christian Science Monitor (Boston) - April 2, 1999

Sander Thoenes, Wamena – If people here are wary of the Army, they have a reason to be. In Irian Jaya, Indonesia's easternmost province, thousands have died during three decades of a small but persistent antigovernment guerrilla war.

So when Army troops last week chased away the pedicab drivers and took up positions, a tremor moved across Wamena's marketplace.

The Independent (Bangkok) - April 2, 1999

Abu Shams – The battle for votes in the upcoming Indonesian national elections is already on and it exposes rivalries among the existing Islamic political parties in the country. Among such Islamic parties is the United Development Party, whose leaders have chosen the Kabah which all Muslims face in prayer, as the new party symbol.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 2, 1999

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Hopes of a peaceful United Nations-supervised vote to decide East Timor's future are fading amid escalating tension among rival Timorese activists and an attack on Indonesia's armed forces commander, General Wiranto, by the resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao.

April 1, 1999

Agence France Presse - April 1, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian government has proposed scrapping its draconian subversion law and including new articles in the criminal code to cover crimes against the state, reports said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - April 1, 1999

Tokyo – A Japanese contractor allegedly paid at least 40 million yen (340,000 dollars) in kickbacks to cronies of former Indonesian president Suharto and related ministries to get a railway contract, a report said Thursday.

Associated Press - April 1, 1999

Christopher Torchia, Jakarta – Foreign investment will probably flow back into Indonesia's shattered economy if parliamentary elections on June 7 are conducted without any major disruption, former US President Jimmy Carter said Thursday.

Carter, who plans to act as an election observer, described the poll in Indonesia as the most significant in 1999.

Kompas - April 1, 1999 (BBC summary)

Dili – The calling back of thousands of East Timorese students currently pursuing studies in various cities throughout Indonesia has been deplored. Students would be better off concentrating on their studies. Not all students supported either independence or integration for the territory.

Jakarta Post - April 1, 1999

Jakarta – Nine students from Trisakti University and a university security guard were badly wounded by riot troops in a clash in a street rally held on Wednesday in front of the Ministry of Defense and Security in Central Jakarta.

Two of the wounded students were women. The university security officer, Riswadi, was assigned to help supervise the students' protest.

Australian Financial Review - April, 10, 1999

It is hard to see how worse bloodshed can be avoided without much stronger international pressure on Jakarta to pull its troops into line, writes Brian Toohey.

Alexander Downer could be excused for wondering whatever happened to the famed special relationship between the Australian military and the Indonesian military now that it is needed.

Associated Press - April 1, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian military relinquished command of the police force Thursday as part of a government push to reform the armed forces, which have been tainted by charges of corruption and human rights abuses.

International Herald Tribune - April 1, 1999

Michael Richardson, Jakarta – Indonesia's badly battered economy appears to be stabilizing and could return to growth before the year is out, according to officials and analysts who have been tracking it.

March 31, 1999

Lusa - March 31, 1999

Lisbon – East Timor resistance spokesman Jose Ramos Horta has announced his support for the NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia and blamed the current situation on the intransigence of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Agence France Presse - March 31, 1999

Jakarta – Standard and Poor's hurriedly restored Indonesia's long-term foreign currency sovereign rating Wednesday, just a day after a downgrade by the US agency sparked an angry central bank rejoinder.

Performing a rare about-face, the New York-based credit assessor said it had "reset" the rating from "Selective Default" back up to "Triple-C-Plus."

Deutsche Presse Agentur - March 31, 1999

Jakarta – Tension remained high throughout villages in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara on Wednesday after clashes between residents that left at least five people dead, police and news reports said.