Fri, 02 May 2003

E. Timorese lack news from home

ATAMBUA, East Nusa Tenggara: East Timorese living in the Insana regency in East Nusa Tenggara lack access to news about their homeland, causing many to decide to stay in the Indonesian half of Timor island, an official said on Thursday.

"The East Timorese community here are really short of news on the political, economic and security developments in their homeland," Insana regent Piet Sanan said.

Around 295 East Timorese families or 1,780 people have settled in the regency, which has a population of 33,675, he said.

The East Timorese were former refugees who fled East Timor due to the violence that followed its separation from Indonesia in 1999.

Piet said many of the East Timorese wanted to go home, but due to the lack of information they feared the situation might still not be safe for them.

Many of the refugees were pro-Jakarta militia members who, backed by the Indonesian Military, led a violent rampage in East Timor following a United Nations supported referendum that led to its independence.

Piet urged the East Timor government to help Indonesia disseminate information among its people here about progress in the new country. -- JP