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60 families of Timor Leste settle in Indonesia

Tempo - March 24, 2019

Jakarta (Antara) – Some 60 families of Timor Leste are currently settled in Indonesia's Naktuka Village, Amfoang Timur Sub-district, Kupang District, East Nusa Tenggara, with this rising number triggering concerns among Indonesians there, a local community leader stated.

"The number of Timor Leste's citizens from Oecusse who have settled in Naktuka Village has tended to keep increasing over the past three years, though the area belongs to Indonesia," Kain Maus, the community leader of Amfoang Timur Sub-district, had stated in Oelamasi on Friday.

Speaking to Antara in Oelamasi, the capital city of Kupang District, Maus noted that some 60 families or equal to approximately at least 200 people of Oecusse Enclave, are currently settled in Naktula Village. They occupy the land that actually belongs to Indonesia.

The number of families from this enclave of Timor Leste had increased, from 40 to 60, over the past three years, he noted, adding that this condition has raised serious concerns among the Indonesian citizens residing in Amfoang Timur Sub-district.

In fact, the traditional leaders of Timor Leste's Oecusse Enclave had officially recognized several years ago that the Naktula Village area was an integrated part of Indonesia's territory, Maus noted.

Their statement of recognition had also been handed over by these traditional leaders of Oecusse to the Indonesian foreign minister at a meeting for resolving the border issue of Timor Leste-Indonesia several years ago, he remarked.

Maus said the families of Timor Leste currently settled in Naktuka Village are the holders of Timor Leste's identity cards. They should be made aware of the fact that the village area that they are settled in belongs to Indonesia.

In the past, Timor Leste was called East Timor. It was one of the Indonesian provinces. However, it became an independent state as a result of the victory of the independence camp within the East Timorese society in the United Nations-sponsored plebiscite in 1999.

At that time, Indonesia's economy was relatively weak as a result of its serious economic crisis, while Australia, ruled by John Howard, pressured Indonesian President BJ Habibie to solve the East Timor problem quickly. In an interview with ABC, Habibie acknowledged Howard's pressure as revealed in its news titled Howard pushed me on E Timor referendum: Habibie (Nov 16, 2008).

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1188616/60-families-of-timor-leste-settle-in-indonesia