Today, IOM and UNHCR teams "extracted" 325 refugees from Haliwen and from Labur, two camps in West Timor controlled by militiamen. This was the first time an "extraction team" visited Labur camp, located some 40kms from Atambua. Upon entering the camp, IOM staff noticed a group of 50 young men engaged in militia training. The arrival of 18 IOM leased trucks escorted by Indonesian military (TNI) created quite a commotion in the camp. Militiamen armed with sticks surrounded the convoy and said no one was to leave the camp. After a tense stand off, one family decided to brave the militamen and boarded the trucks. Other families who wanted to leave were prevented from doing so. IOM and UNHCR will be organizing another convoy in the coming days to try and extract more people from Labur. The remaining refugees were picked up from Haliwen camp.
An additional 236 people were repatriated from Djakarta on board an IOM chartered flight.
* As of 8 December, IOM has organized the return by land, sea and air of 63,896 East Timorese from West Timor, from Indonesia and from Australia.
So far, more than 115,000 people have returned in an organized or in aspontaneous way to East Timor.
* Total returns by land
To date, IOM has returned 23,804 East Timorese by land from West Timor.
* Total returns by sea.
To date, IOM has returned 28,490 East Timorese by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia
* Total returns by air
To date, IOM has returned 6,937 East Timorese from Kupang to Dili and 3,908 from other parts of Indonesia.
A total of 757 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Darwin to Dili.