Indonesian General Warns East Timorese Refugees against Rioting
A senior Indonesian military commander Monday warned East Timorese refugees in camps in West Timor against stirring up trouble or said they could face immediate deportation.
"I wish to stress, and remind refugees, they are staying in the garden of their brothers and therefore should not engage in actions that could harm them, the citizens of Indonesia," Major General Willem da Costa said, quoted by the Antara news agency.
Da Costa heads the Bali-based Udayana military command that oversees security in West Timor.
Refugees who stirred up problems would be deported, he said, but the Antara report did not say where to.
"The refugees in the camps should understand and avoid sullying the name of the state of Indonesia," Da Costa also said.
Tension between Indonesians and more than 100,000 East Timorese refugees in camps across the Indonesian territory of West Timor periodically erupts into brawls. Scores of people were injured and houses torched last year.
In the latest violence, hundreds of East Timorese refugees attacked the Poto resettlement camp, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the West Timorese main city of Kupang, in the final days of 2000, burning at least 100 houses belonging to local Indonesias and injuring several people.
The attack followed a trivial dispute during a local football match.
In September last year, hundreds of machete-wielding East Timorese attacked the office of the UN High Commissioner for refugees in the West Timor border town of Atambua killing three foreign workers.
The incident sparked worldwide indignation and put the government under pressure to disarm and control the East Timorese militias in West Timor.
More than 300,000 East Timorese fled across the border into West Timor during a militia campaign of terror and violence that followed East Timor's vote to break away from Indonesia in September 1999.
Many have since been repatriated but about 100,000 are still holed up in squalid camps in West Timor, where the militias are said to hold sway -- JAKARTA (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)