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Timor Leste refugees return home

Jakarta Post - September 29, 2012

Dozens of people from Timor Leste, who had taken refuge in the province for 13 years with minimum facilities from the Indonesian government, have left the Naibonat refugee camp to return home.

The repatriation was facilitated by the Center for Internally Displaced Persons (CIS), Grupu Fila Knua Timor Leste and the Forum of Care for Women and Children (FPPA) in Belu, an Indonesian regency bordering the tiny country which declared its independence on May 20, 2002.

"Those refugees who declined to take Indonesian citizenship are going back home to Baucau through Atambua and will enter Timor Leste through the joint gate in Motaain," CIS worker Merry Djami said on Friday.

The refugees said they voluntarily decided to go back home in the hope that they could meet their relatives and do something useful for their country. "I want to die in the land where I was born," said 70-year-old Norberta da Costa da Gama.

Faria, 34, expressed her thanks to the Indonesian government, which had supported Timor Leste refugees during their stay in the province. She also conveyed her thanks to locals who lent their land to farm.