Militia Activity in the Ambeno Enclave: In the past five days, with recent tensions in the enclave, there have been no crossings of returnees. Several minor clashes have been reported between militia members and local youth security groups, the Force Seguranca. On 14 January, a group of 20 militia crossed into the Passabe area and burnt seven houses. INTERFET apprehended two of the militia involved in the incident. On 15 January, a large group of militia, many armed, reportedly met in West Timor near the border with Oekussi and made plans to enter the enclave and raise flags. On 17 January, in two separate incidents, INTERFET elements exchanged fire with armed groups of militia, 20 and 8 strong, in an area to the southwest of Passabe. The security risk in the enclave is now assessed as high, and all movement of humanitarian personnel and supplies now requires armed INTERFET escort.
Returns: On Saturday 15 January, 166 persons crossed from West Timor to Suai. An IOM-chartered ferry transported 398 returnees from Kupang to Dili. In secondary movements, IOM organised the return of 135 persons to Lospalos, 24 persons to Liquica and 3 to Manatuto. Today, 17 January, 157 returnees crossed from Atambua to Batugade. In secondary movements, 52 persons were moved from Dili to Ermera, 18 persons from Batugade to Atabae, 83 persons from Batugade to Dili and 1 person from Batugade to Liquica. Currently there are 384 persons at the transit centre awaiting secondary movement to Lospalos, Same, Baucau and Ainaro. The total number of returnees is now 130, 003.
Logistics: The WFP barge, ET Carrier, is currently unloading 200 MTs of rice at Kairabella port in Baucau district. During the past two days, the WFP helicopter delivered about 42 MTs of foodstuffs to several remote locations in Bobonaro district.
Food: In Atsabe subdistrict of Ermera, following reports of malnutrition-related deaths in the villages of Letefoho (12) and Lasaum (13), an assessment was conducted by UNTAET humanitarian staff and members of the Portuguese Humanitarian Mission based in Ermera. Several children recently returned from Atambua were reported to have died, but their deaths appear related to disease rather than malnutrition. World Food Program personnel from Dili will now visit the area for a more detailed assessment.
Health: The Joint Working Group on Health, comprising representatives from UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UHP, MSF, OXFAM and the East Timorese Health Professional Group, plans to conduct needs assessment visits to establish the current status of health care in East Timor, as well as to register Timorese health care workers. The Working Group serves as the health advisory board for the National Consultative Council and has been tasked to ultimately define East Timor's Ministry of Health.
Education: UNICEF reports that over 2,000 sheets of galvanised roofing iron and school reconstruction materials were loaded today on an INTERFET barge for transport to the Ambeno enclave. In addition, 40 School-in-a-Box and recreational kits will be ferried to the under-serviced district.