Indonesia: October 8, 1999


Religious violence in the Maluku islands have left eleven dead and nearly fifty injured. Most of the damage appears to have been done by the military as they attempted to disperse rioting mobs. On Timor, Indonesian military commanders warned Interfet to stay out of West Timor, or else. The first East Timorese refugees from West Timor were flown back to East Timor. It was considered too dangerous to bring them back overland because of all the anti-independence militiamen on the East-West Timor border.

October 7; Overnight an Interfet patrol ran into a militia roadblock and a firefight ensued. Two Australian troops were seriously wounded. Two militiamen were killed, several wounded and the rest captured or dispersed into the bush. This occurred near the East-West Timor border, where most militia groups have set up shop, still terrorizing any East Timorese they could find. Interfet has been moving into this area.

October 6; Interfet (International Force for East Timor) troops have begun to move outside the East Timor capital of Dili. Australian troops moved 85 kilometers southwest of Dili and occupied the town of Maliana. No militia had been seen in this area for about two weeks. The area normally has a population of 15,000, but the militia had burned down nearly every building and only a few hundred people were seen as the Australian troops rolled into town. Interfet patrols have gone out to most areas of East Timor, but most have been via helicopter. Interfet currently has 4,600 troops on the island, of which 3,500 are Australian. The UN has proposed running a temporary government for 2-3 years, using 9,000 troops and 1,500 police contributed by UN members. Australia wants to scale back its contribution in the next 2-3 months. The Falintil pro-independence guerillas have asked to be converted into a security force for East Timor, and disarming them has been delayed while this is considered.

October 5; East Timorese are complaining that the peacekeeping forces are too timid in dealing with the anti-independence militias. The small number of pro-independence guerillas, who have come down from their mountain hideouts, volunteered to go after the militias, but their offer was refused. All this points out that peacekeeping missions go in with the understanding that casualties are to be kept to a minimum. This is not warfare, but trying to prevent warfare. Meanwhile, the US amphibious ship Belleau Wood is on it's way to East Timor, with a battalion of marines on board. It is to arrive on October 8.

October 5; Continued religious violence in the Maluku islands have left three dead and thirty injured. In the last three days, nearly twenty have died in the violence. Speaking f violence, thousands of students and others demonstrated in the Jakarta and other cities to protest the continued presence of  officials (especially the military ones) from the Suharto government. The newly elected does not take over until November. 

October 4; Religious violence continues in the Maluku islands, with one dead and one wounded. 

October 3; Indonesia agreed to let East Timorese refugees to return from West Timor and other parts of Indonesia. There's no guarantee this will happen, as the Indonesian army has been preventing refugees from returning. The anti-independence militias in Timor have vowed to resist the peacekeeping force in East Timor.

October 1; The Command of the Pro-Integration Struggle (PPI), has publicly announced that it would attempt to keep peacekeepers out of the  six western districts of East Timor. The idea is that this area would be set aside for East Timorese who do not want to be in an independent East Timor. This part of East Timor would remain part of Indonesia. 




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close