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Timor: growing resentment in West Timor

Briefing notes

Timor: growing resentment in West Timor

30 May 2000

East Timorese refugees and local residents in the Tuapukan area of West Timor have been battling with sticks, stones and knives over the past three days, preventing UNHCR staff from operating in the camp just outside Kupang. Nine houses have been burned, but there have been no reports of major casualties. The confrontations at Tuapukan, the largest camp for East Timorese refugees with some 15,000 people, are an indication of the growing tensions in refugee-hosting areas in West Timor. We have expressed our concerns to Indonesian officials about this growing resentment by local residents about the presence of the refugees in the camps controlled by pro-Indonesian elements. Meanwhile, repatriation to East Timor continues to be slow. Over the past week 465 refugees returned to East Timor, bringing the overall returns since October to 162,168 as of yesterday.