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UNTAET Daily Briefing 10 Mar 2000

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Posted
Originally published
Dili, 10 March 2000
Weapons in ship search

East Timor Border Control officers yesterday confiscated two hand grenades, three airguns and several packets of airgun pellets, one ounce of hashish and a number of bayonets from the passengers on a ship carrying returnees from West Timor.

The ship transported 386 returnees from Kupang, and upon arrival in Dili as the baggage was to be unloaded, customs officers conducted a routine search of one of the passengers and discovered two hand grenades concealed in a cassette player and an ounce of hashish in his bag. He was detained and ultimately handed over to CivPol.

Border Control Service officers then conducted a search of all the baggage on the ship which revealed three weapons, several packets of airgun pellets and a bundle of bayonets.

The confiscated weapons were handed over the UN Peacekeeping personnel and further four people were detained for questioning by CivPol.

Border Control Service will in the future conduct a full search of baggage on all the ships carrying returnees from West Timor, and body search upon a reasonable doubt that such a search is warranted.

The total number of organized and spontaneous returns to East Timor (from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia, Macau and Australia now stands at 150,194.

Joanico Belo in Dili

Joanico Cesario Belo, the former leader of the "Tim Saka" militia of Baucau, was in Dili yesterday as part of a "Com and see visit". He left this morning for Baucau and Lospalos.

Yesterday, he met with Aniceto Guterres, from the Human Rights Organization Yajasan Hak, with SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello, with UNTAET head of the Human Rights Division, Sidney Jones, and with CNRT President Xanana Gusmao.

Xanana Gusmao invited Joanico Belo to a CNRT women's meeting (of the group East Timorese Women Organization), took him to the stage and then talked about reconciliation. Reportedly, the reaction was positive.

This was the first "Come and see visit", which is part of the program organized by UNTAET in close consultation with the CNRT to try to increase the number of returnees from West Timor.

Last January the SRSG went to Kupang and Atambua, in West Timor, and met with pro-autonomy members, including Joanico Belo and members from Ermera.

In those meetings, the SRSG invited them to visit East Timor, so they could see for themselves what the current situation in the country is.

These were targeted invitations, and the whole delegation was here as individuals, and not as representatives of the new pro-autonomy party UNTAS or any other pro-Indonesia group.

Liquica clean-up

A Liquica clean-up project funded by USAID and supported by UNTAET is scheduled to start on Monday, 13 March, and is expected to employ some 2000 people over the next two months.

The project will employ 550 people from 23 villages at a time, which will be rotating every two weeks so to give employment opportunity to a wider number of people.

The works will include clean-up of the rubble from destroyed buildings, road repair and clean-up of water deposits where mosquitoes breed, rehabilitation of sport and cultural activities.

USAID will entirely fund the project while UNTAET will provide tools for the works.

Exhumations in Lospalos

A team of three forensic experts from the UNTAET Human Rights Division went to the Lospalos region today to start the exhumation of eight bodies of victims of a massacre from late September last year in which two nuns, three seminarians, one journalist and two other people were killed.

The victims were killed by the "Team Alpha" militia, after they were taken out of a convoy travelling from Lospalos to Dili.

At least one of the alleged executors of the massacre is now in custody in Dili Detention Center.