13 June 2009

Indonesian military told to evict East Timorese from disputed border area

TNI told to evict disputed border settlers in NTT Sat, 06/13/2009 1:16 PM | The Archipelago KUPANG: Legislators in East Nusa Tenngara (NTT) have urged Indonesian military (TNI) to expel hundreds of Timor Leste people who have unilaterally built settlements along a disputed area bordering Indonesia and its former province.

'The TNI should act firmly. If there is already an agreement that the neutral zone still under the status of dispute should be clear of any civilian activities, the two countries must abide by it,' senior NTT legislative council member Jonathan Kanan said Friday.

Jonathan, deputy chairman of the council's security affairs commission, said that unless the TNI took firm action, the disputed 1,069-square-meter area, "rich of mining resources", could be occupied by Timor Leste.

'An international court only recognizes the ownership of a certain area if there are activities there. Never allow for the case of Sipadan and Ligitan islands that Indonesia lost to Malaysia to recur,' he said.

Council deputy speaker Kristo Blasin asked the Foreign Ministry to pay serious attention to the issue.

Never let bloodshed break out. This problem can actually be settled through diplomacy,' he said.

Kristo called on the two countries to involve communities in finding a solution to the disputed border at Naktuka village in East Amfoang subdistrict in the NTT capital of Kupang. Timor Leste claims the area as part of its Oecusi district.

Earlier, Indonesia's security border force lodged a protest with Timor Leste police, which had allowed its citizens to build settlements in the disputed area. - JP

East Nusa Tenggara Village Warns of Violence If East Timor Border Issue Not Settled

The Jakarta Globe June 13, 2009 by Eras Poke Kupang - The leader of a remote subdistrict bordering East Timor says his people are ready to take up arms if the ownership of a disputed piece of land isn't settled.

The Armed Forces (TNI) has barred a community in East Amfoang subdistrict, East Nusa Tenggara, from using the land in disputed Naktuka village.

But Robby J. Manoh, a village head on the Indonesian side of the border, said he did not understand why the East Timorese were allowed to remain in Naktuka.

People from East Timor are starting to plant on Naktuka soil, but our government has done nothing to stop them," Robby said.

This is not fair. If this injustice continues, we have no choice but to force [the Timorese] to leave the area."

Police in East Amfoang confirmed the Timorese presence in Naktuka, but were told last month by the military that such cases were common along the border.

Daud Saul Ndaumanu, the subdistrict chief of police, said that the problem had persisted since 2006.

Regulation has it that [Naktuka] should be clear of any establishments or activities initiated by either country," Ndaumanu said.

But for some reason, that hasn't stopped the people of East Timor from staying in these disputed areas. I think the government should intervene in this matter."

Robby also appealed to authorities to look into the situation. We're in a tough position because we cannot take care of our own land," he said. "We've brought this up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but nothing has been done to settle this issue."

Kupang district police and the governor's office have not reported any violence in the area.

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