17 October 2009
Suara Timor Lorosae reports threats against FRETILIN leaders and their families by pro-autonomy miltias
TRANSLATION FROM TETUM: Suara Timor Lorosae, Dili 17 October 2009 INDONESIANS “THREATEN” TO CLOSE BORDER PR Horta, Jose Luis, Minister for Justice Lucia Meet Urgently Dili – Timor-Leste born Indonesian citizens living in Atambua-Kupang-Indonesia, have threatened to set up checkpoints or sweeps vehicles with Timor-Leste white registration number plates because of the detention of the former Laksaur Militia Commander, Maternus Bere who is still detained at the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.
“We will undertake sweeps (checkpoints) of cars belonging to Timorese who travel in and out of Indonesia. This action will be taken especially against the sons and daughters of FRETILIN leaders including FRETILIN cadres who live near the border,” Francisco Soares Pereira told STL by telephone Friday (15/10).
The former refugees decided this because they consider that some FRETILIN leaders in Timor do not want to engage in reconciliation with the Timorese militia in Indonesia as it relates to the Maternus Bere case, which has not been resolved in Timor-Leste and becoming a controversy between FRETILIN leaders and the AMP government led by Prime Minister Kay Rala Banana Gusmao.
There has been a strong reaction from FRETILIN’s leaders and other opposition leaders such as KOTA and PUN to the government’s decision to transfer Maternus Bere from the Becora Prison to the Indonesian embassy in Dili. Their reaction resulted in a censure motion being presented but which failed to bring down the AMP government because the majority in the National Parliament gave the AMP government their vote of confidence for them to continue to govern until 2012.
The Timorese refugee leader also threatened to close, next week, as a protest against the FRETILIN leaders who want to try Maternus Bere. “Right now we are organizing a group in Atambua made up of nearly 24,000 people who will take action to close the border in Atambua and Kefamenanu to Oecusse and put in place check points to search the sons and daughters of FRETILIN leaders studying in Indonesia,” Francisco reinforced.
Francisco said that the central government in Jakarta, Kupang and Atambua have been informed of this proposed action so that they could grant them the license or the permission to undertake this action.
He stressed that this decision take by them was as a result of FRETILIN party leaders in Timor-Leste failing to give their support for the policy by the government of Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao to release Maternus Bere as an act of reconciliation pursuant to the agreement
foreshadowed in the Truth and Friendship Commission in Timor-Leste.
“This action by us is because the FRETILIN party is not giving its support to Prime Minister Banana Gusmao who wants to engage in reconciliation with Timorese in Atambua.
PR Horta holds urgent meeting
In the mean time in relation to this threat by Indonesian citizens in Atambua, President of the Republic Jose Ramos Horta, Acting Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres and Justice Minister Lucia Maria Lobato, held an urgent meeting at the Presidential Palace in Aitarak Laran to
try and find a solution to this problem.
This meeting was considered to be urgent and closed to the public, and because of this we can’t give a detailed report on this issue.
According to information ascertained by this daily from Kupang, the movement of public transport between Timor-Leste and Kupang, including travel is occurring as normal despite the threat from Indonesian citizens in Kupang.
“Right now public transport including bus travel is still occurring as normal, despite their being information that Timorese refugees intend to close the border because of the Maternus Bere case,” said a source who did not want to be named.
According to him the T-L consultant in Kupang has also been subject to serious threats from Indonesian citizens although there have been no physical incidents.