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Timor: demobilised East Timorese soldiers repatriate

Briefing notes

Timor: demobilised East Timorese soldiers repatriate

4 April 2000

The largest group of demobilised East Timorese soldiers to repatriate to East Timor has been going home safely since the weekend, nearly a month after they left camps in the Kupang area controlled by pro-Indonesian elements.

UNHCR hopes that the return without any incident of around 60 former members of the Indonesian Army, or TNI, along with their families - totalling around 500 - would give momentum to the repatriation movement.

All but two ex-TNIs who went to the Dili area are from Aileu - a cantonment site for Falintil, or Armed Forces for the Liberation of East Timor.

Former TNIs have been returning individually or in small groups, but this group of 60 is the biggest so far. Their return to Aileu came after U.N. agencies, including CIVPOL and UNTAET, agreed on security arrangements with the Falintil and CNRT, the umbrella organisation for East Timorese political groups, over the weekend.

On Saturday, 35 ex-TNI families went back, followed by 149 yesterday. Today, 229 families of the ex-TNIs are returning to Aileu and the rest will be going back there on Thursday.