Timor: no early resumption of repatriation envisaged
Tensions remain high along the West Timor border and we do not see a resumption of our repatriation operations in the next several days. Today, several dozen former militia members belonging to the Itarak group gathered in front of the UNHCR office in the border town of Atambua, taunting staff members and threatening to attack the premises. The Itarak was one of the militia groups blamed for the violence in East Timor following last year's vote for independence. Indonesian soldiers in Atambua were called and the situation was brought under control after several tense hours.
About 120 East Timorese refugees are at the transit centre in the West Timor capital of Kupang and they will proceed to Dili in East Timor as soon as an IOM-organized boat is available to transport them, possibly next week. UNHCR yesterday dispatched 12 East Timorese on a go-see-visit to East Timor's town of Los Palos. The group included four East Timorese in the Indonesian army. This is part of UNHCR's programme to promote repatriation. Nearly 170,000 East Timorese have returned under the UNHCR-IOM repatriation programme.