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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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September 23, 1998

Jakarta Post - September 23, 1998

Jeffrey A. Winters, Chicago, Illinois – At the end of July 1997, the World Bank's country director, Dennis de Tray, and the vice president for East Asia and the Pacific region, Jean-Michel Severino, issued an angry press release denying that a large portion of the bank's loan funds routinely leaked into the hands of corrupt officials in the Indonesian government.

September 22, 1998

Straits Times - September 22, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia yesterday said that half of the country has been hit by food shortages. Food Minister A. M. Saefuddin told Parliament that 150 out of 308 regencies were facing a food shortfall, and 53 of the 150 were facing a severe shortage. The shortfalls were in 25 of Indonesia's 27 provinces.

Agence France Presse - September 22, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian military has named a former commander of the troubled territory of East Timor to head the armed forces' command and staff school previously headed by a son-in law of ex-president Suharto, a report said Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - September 22, 1998

Jakarta – The government-sponsored fact-finding team investigating the May riots asserted on Monday that, despite some officials' denials, sexual assaults and rapes did take place in the unrest in Jakarta and other cities which also left 1,200 people dead and led to the downfall of former president Soeharto.

September 21, 1998

Report from Felix at 'Ebenheser' - September 21, 1998

On Wednesday, 16 September a centre where street children are given refuge under the care of Father Sandyawan Sumardi was attacked for two hours in the middle of the night by a gang calling themselves the Mosque Youth.

International Herald Tribune - September 21, 1998

Michael Richardson and Philip Segal, Singapore – As official Indonesian investigators prepare to question former President Suharto for the first time this week about his wealth, experts are cautioning that any criminal wrongdoing will be hard to prove and that the tracing and recovery of money and assets will be equally difficult, especially if they are outside Indonesia.

September 20, 1998

Agence France Presse - September 20, 1998 (abridged)

Dili – The nephew of an independence rebel leader has charged the Indonesian military were holding the former Fretelin commander and demanded his release, a copy of a statement said here Sunday.

Reuters - September 20, 1998 (abridged)

Bombay – Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri said the country could break out into a fresh bout of violence if the government dithered on its plan to hold elections or tried to keep her out of the polls.

Agence France Presse - September 20, 1998

Jakarta – East Timor can use Indonesia's offer of autonomy to the former Portuguese colony to create a "climate of tolerance" to prepare for self-determination, says resistance leader Xanana Gusmao.

Agence France Presse - September 20, 1998

Jakarta – Deeper instability is threatening Indonesia as confidence in the four-month-old government of President B.J. Habibie wanes, analysts say.

September 19, 1998

Jakarta Post - September 19, 1998

Jakarta - Maj. Gen. (ret) Theo Syafei and Maj. Gen. (ret) Raja Kami Sembiring Meliala led an illustrious pack of former military officers, former Golkar leaders and businessmen who formally joined the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) under Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday.

South China Morning Post - September 19, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – In the first case in which President Bacharuddin Habibie has taken legal offence at public criticism, Indonesian police have summonsed actress Ratna Sarumpaet as a "witness to insulting the President".

Tempo - September 19, 1998

Ratna Sarumpaet ignored a police summons which ordered her to appear for questioning today. But the Jakarta police are insisting that she should appear so the director of the Satu Merah Theatre Group received a second summons today ordering her to appear on Monday, 21 September.

Sydney Morning Herald - September 19, 1998

Faced with food riots and student protests, Indonesia's President is tainted by his links with the hated former regime. David Jenkins reports on a country in crisis.

Sydney Morning Herald - September 19, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – All ministers who served under the former president Soeharto, including President B.J. Habibie, have been ordered to declare their personal wealth ahead of the questioning of Mr Soeharto in the first official investigation into corruption under his regime.

September 18, 1998

Asiaweek - September 18, 1998

To Indonesians who can afford it, reform implies political and economic change. To millions of people flung into poverty since the Crisis began, however, the rallying cry of "Reformasi!" has come to mean permission to do whatever they like – loot, flout the law, overthrow officials. In hard-hit Central Java people are willing to do just about anything to survive.

Agence France Presse - September 18, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of angry villagers in Indonesia's Central Java province went on the rampage Friday and attacked the residences of two village chiefs, burning one to the ground, the state Antara News Agency said.

Associated Press - September 18, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – The Indonesian government has set May 26 as the tentative date for parliamentary elections, which will be held under new democratic electoral laws, a newspaper reported Friday.

September 17, 1998

Agence France Presse - September 17, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of protesting Indonesian students and youths tested security forces Thursday, stepping up street demonstrations despite warnings from the military.

Reuters - September 17, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's former president Suharto, facing questioning this week by a government probe into his wealth, says he doesn't have "even one cent" stashed in foreign bank accounts.

Agence France Presse - September 17, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesia will release 15 East Timorese political prisoners next week, a visiting delegation from the International Federation of Human Rights said here Thursday.

Agence France Presse - September 17, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Looters will be shot on sight in the densely-populated Indonesian province of East Java on orders from the police chief there, press reports said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - September 17, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A former military officer in charge of distributing rice in Jakarta has admitted to syphoning off half of the food grain for profit as prices soared beyond the reach of the poor, reports said Thursday.

September 16, 1998

Wall Street Journal - September 16, 1998

Grainne Mccarthy, Jakarta – Speculation that Indonesia is planning to implement capital controls roiled financial markets despite denials from the country's president and central-bank officials that such a move is in the cards.

Associated Press - September 16, 1998

Jakarta – Rioting mobs burned shops and houses in Bagansiapi-api, a fishing town on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, news reports said Wednesday. Hundreds of people took part in the rampage that began Tuesday evening and ended early Wednesday.

Agence France Presse - September 16, 1998

Jakarta – About 100 people marched down busy streets here on Wednesday demanding that the Indonesian military give up its political role. The protesters marched from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation towards the Ministry of Defense to protest at the military's "dual function" of the last three decades, witnesses said.

Lusa - September 16, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Twenty six East Timorese political prisoners ended on Monday their two-week long hunger strike to press for the release of armed resistance leader Xanana Gusmao and other political prisoners in their occupied homeland, according to Jakarta's official news agency, Antara.

Agence France Presse - September 16, 1998

Bekasi – Idris strokes his grey, straggly moustache apologetically and says he would like to offer the three small pink cakes that have seen better days – but they came from the rubbish. Agus, his seven-year-old son, eyes the cakes jealously. They are for supper.

Washington Post - September 16, 1998

Cindy Shiner, Jakarta – Indonesia-Genoveva Misiati named her son Bima, after a traditional Indonesian shadow puppet character that symbolizes honesty, strength and courage. She apparently hoped it would act as a mystical safeguard against trouble.

Her wish, however, foundered on political upheaval. Bima's life has been reduced to memories and fading photographs.

September 15, 1998

Lusa - September 15, 1998

Macau – East Timorese Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Jose Ramos Horta said on Tuesday that Jakarta was sending 3,000 new troops to his occupied home land.

Associated Press - September 15, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Hundreds of people have looted rice from a government-owned warehouse in East Timor, while police arrested 54 people for looting teakwood in Central Java, a report said Tuesday.

Straits Times - September 15, 1998

Jakarta – Volunteers working with Indonesian victims of rape, especially those from the May riots, said they and their families are still being terrorised. Mr Sandyawan Sumardi and Ms Karlina Leksono-Supelli of the Volunteers for Humanity told The Jakarta Post that those targeted included gynaecologists.

Agence France Presse - September 15, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian military is reviewing its role in the country's political life but has vowed to stay in the legislature where its members are appointed directly by the president, reports said here Tuesday.

September 14, 1998

Agence France Presse - September 14, 1998

Jakarta – Soldiers and police deployed around Jakarta's central Merdeka square Monday halted a student demonstration to protest the military's role in political life.

Lusa - September 14, 1998

Washington – More than 100 members of the US Congress have asked for the release of East Timor's jailed armed resistance leader Xanana Gusmao in messages addressed to US President Bill Clinton and Indonesian President Jusuf Habibie.

Associated Press - September 14, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds rioted and looted in Indonesia's third-largest city [Medan] today when a strike by public transport drivers turned violent. And in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, soldiers blocked 300 students who tried to demonstrate outside military headquarters to demand that the armed forces get out of politics.

Agence France Presse - September 14, 1998

Jakarta – The government is ready to submit to parliament three draft bills on political parties, elections and the legislature in post-Suharto Indonesia, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung said Monday.

September 13, 1998

Jakarta Post - September 13, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Minister of Defense and Security/Armed Forces (ABRI) Commander Gen. Wiranto warned on Friday the military would take repressive measures against street demonstrations which foment public disorder.

September 12, 1998

The Australian - September 12, 1998

For the first time in 23 years, all of East Timor's major political parties have come together to discuss a reconciliation proposal.

Sydney Morning Herald - September 12, 1998

David Jenkins, Jakarta – In an attempt to rebuild the prestige of an institution which is coming under mounting public attack, the leaders of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) have decided to cut the national police force free of military control and reintroduce conventional police uniforms and rank systems, according to well-placed sources in Jakarta.

Jakarta Post - September 12, 1998

Jakarta – About 1,000 student demonstrators staged a noisy but peaceful rally near the Presidential Palace on Thursday, demanding President B.J. Habibie's government lower staple food prices and try former president Soeharto.

Agence France Presse - September 12, 1998

Jakarta – About 1,500 people looted four hectares (9.8 acres) of ready-to harvest onion fields in the densely-populated island of Java, reports said here Saturday.

September 11, 1998

Agence France Presse - September 11, 1998

Jakarta – A four-day operation by Indonesian police to crack down on teak-wood looting in central Java has left one dead, several injured and forced hundreds of villagers to flee their homes, sources said Friday.

South China Morning Post - September 11, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The number of reported rapes of ethnic Chinese women that occurred during the May riots could drop significantly because of a problem with the way human rights groups collected data, a new report says.

Agence France Presse - September 11, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Student and youth protestors from Indonesia's remote Irian Jaya province scuffled with police during a demonstration at the military headquarters here Friday, leaving at least one injured.

September 9, 1998

Agence France Presse - September 9, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of people raided a state-owned fish pond in West Javan city of Karawang on Tuesday and got away with 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of newly-harvested prawns worth some 2,500 dollars, reports said Wednesday. Some 500 people were involved in the two-hour raid on the pond, owned by the central government's state secretariat Tuesday.

Reuters - September 9, 1998 (abridged)

Nick Edwards, Jakarta – Mounting social unrest in Indonesia has scared more skittish capital out of the crippled economy, felling the rupiah and dashing faint hopes of recovery.

Wall Street Journal - September 9, 1998

Jay Solomon and Jeremy Wagstaff, Jakarta – An inquisition against some of the Suharto era's most renowned cronies is gathering steam. The question that continues to be asked, however, is can it be controlled?

Dow Jones Newswires - September 9, 1998

Surabaya – Riot police scuffled with protesters and fired warning shots Wednesday when about 4,000 students staged one of the biggest protests so far against Indonesia's president over skyrocketing food prices.

East Timor International Support Center - September 9, 1998

Jailed East Timorese Resistance leader Xanana Gusmao said today that claims made by Indonesia of a large troop reduction in East Timor are false. He said 3,500 new Indonesian troops have been brought in the troubled territory, secretly, to replace the ones that left last month.