UNTAET Daily Briefing 06 Mar 2000

News and Press Release
Originally published
Dili, 6 March
One Timorese killed in incursion

One East Timorese was allegedly killed yesterday in Azufuru, 15 kilometres East of Maliana, during an attack to the village reportedly by five militia men.

A second man was wounded, and another was made hostage and kidnapped.

Reportedly, this third alleged victim was able to escape and reported the incident to Maliana's CivPol a few hours later.

According to this person, the five militia were armed with automatic rifles and grenades.

If confirmed, this would be the third incursion into East Timorese soil in the last four days, after four incidents in Sector West, at the border, in which the UNTAET Peacekeeping troops were harassed.

Family meetings resumed at Batugade and expected in Oecussi

The family reunions meetings resumed this Saturday in Batugade, five kilometres from Indonesia's border point of Montaain, where 2000 people from East Timor came to the meeting, but only 260 came from West Timor.

Two weeks ago, 13,000 people met at Batugade - of which 6,000 were from West Timor.

International Organization for Migration, UN Military Observers, CivPol and PKF said that people will need some time to ragain confidence in these meetings.

There were three factors that may have discouraged people: the leaflets that proautonomy leaders were distributing prior to Saturday's meeting, the group of 12 men in civilian clothes with automatic weapons who were reportedly along the route from Atambua to Montaain, and very bad weather in Atambua (heavy rain).

The leaflet was issued by UNTAS (United Timorese Heroes). It is an example of the misinformation circulating in West Timor.

Today, the spokesman reiterated the call SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello made last week during the visit of President Wahid for Indonesian authorities to help "persuade the leadership of the of the newly-created UNTAS to abandon antagonism and confrontation and opt for democratic competition".

This Thursday, March the 9th, the enclave of Oecussi is expected to resume its family reunion meetings, this time organised by UN Agencies and UNTAET. The agreement was reached yesterday after a meeting between the local UNTAET Peacekeeping Commander, Colonel Farjat, from Jordan, and the local TNI Commander Colonel Pontoh, at Bobometo.

Moko Soares on trial

The trial of militia leader Moko Soares was scheduled to start today in Kefamenanu, West Timor. Moko Soares was the leader of the Sakunar militia of Oecussi arrested in February, and suspected of being responsible for the incursions into the enclave.

Colonel Pontoh, the local TNI Indonesian commander, invited the UN Military Observers and UNHCR as observers, to follow up the procedures.

New exhumations

One body was expected to be exhumed today in Baucau, and three more will be exhumed tomorrow in Suai.

Both cases are related to the violence of last year and the Human Rights division of UNTAET informed that they were killed in September.

There are reasons to believe that they are all males.

One team of two forensic experts went to Baucau and today another team of two left for Suai. In Dili there is another pathologist assisting the fieldwork.

Bangladesh engineers arrived

The 535 strong contingent of Bangladesh engineers will be fully deployed tomorrow, March the 7th, with the arrival of the last 150 troops.

On Sunday, 150 troops arrived, followed by another 150 yesterday.

These troops will be stationed in Sector Central, in the Dili area, and will give the UNTAET Peacekeeping Force a great contribution in road repair and road building.

Weekend Disturbances

A violent incident occurred on Sunday morning in the Dili suburb of Mascarinhas when a group of 30-40 males attacked the neighbourhood.

A fight ensued when the residents resisted and ultimately drove off the attackers.

Three people were injured in the incident and were released from Dili hospital after their treatment.

UNTAET CivPol attended the disturbance and with the assistance of UNTAET Peacekeeping Force, they calmed the situation down. A number of witnesses and several suspects have been identified by CivPol. No arrests have been made yet, but are expected over the next few days.


The National Consultative Council of East Timor at its seventh regular session approved today two new regulations on the organization of courts and public procurement for civil administration.

The NCC members also discussed a letter from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson in which she invited NCC to provide its views on the human rights situation in East Timor.

The agenda included the introduction of a draft regulation and initial discussion on the establishment of village and subdistrict development councils for the disbursement of funds for development activities. This regulation will provide a regulatory framework for the implementation of the World Bank's Community Empowerment Project.

The next session will be held on March the 13th.

Border Service officers arrived

Six Australian Customs officers have arrived in Dili today to join the East Timor Border Control Service. These officers will be posted at two border points between East and West Timor in the coming weeks together with 18 Timorese officers. The establishment of the border points in Motaain and Falile will go ahead upon the arrival of the equipment that includes live-in containers and vehicles.

There are currently 38 customs officers operating within the East Timor Border Control Service. 31 of them are Timorese; five are from New Zealand; one from Nepal, and one from Mozambique.

Customs control is currently in place at the Dili International Airport and Dili Port. There are plans to increase the number of Border Control Service staff to some ninety officers by the end of next week. This will be done mainly through the recruitment of additional Timorese staff and up to ten Portuguese officers that have already been pledged by the Portuguese government.

Misinformation is major obstacle to return of refugees

As long as people are being kept in a situation where they have no access, or not enough access, to obtain information, (...) it is obvious that that is a major, probably the major obstacle, said Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees Soren Jessen Petersen referring to the return of refugees from West Timor in today's media briefing in Dili. Jessen-Petersen emphasised that "that is also why we are insisting so much on not doing anything here [East Timor] that could feed into the misinformation campaign."

"We understand that local incidents are inevitable in such a situation, but as long as messages from the leadership here are clear, then you are not providing those doing the misinformation with ammunition. This is a serious issue," said Jessen-Petersen.