Naktuka Border Dispute

The Jakarta Globe

June 13, 2009

Village Warns of Violence If Border Issue Not Settled

by Eras Poke


The leader of a remote subdistrict bordering East Timor says his people are ready to take up arms if the ownership of a disputed piece of land isn't settled.

The Armed Forces (TNI) has barred a community in East Amfoang subdistrict, East Nusa Tenggara, from using the land in disputed Naktuka village.

But Robby J. Manoh, a village head on the Indonesian side of the border, said he did not understand why the East Timorese were allowed to remain in Naktuka.

People from East Timor are starting to plant on Naktuka soil, but our government has done nothing to stop them," Robby said.

This is not fair. If this injustice continues, we have no choice but to force [the Timorese] to leave the area."

Police in East Amfoang confirmed the Timorese presence in Naktuka, but were told last month by the military that such cases were common along the border.

Daud Saul Ndaumanu, the subdistrict chief of police, said that the problem had persisted since 2006.

Regulation has it that [Naktuka] should be clear of any establishments or activities initiated by either country," Ndaumanu said.

But for some reason, that hasn't stopped the people of East Timor from staying in these disputed areas. I think the government should intervene in this matter."

Robby also appealed to authorities to look into the situation. We're in a tough position because we cannot take care of our own land," he said. "We've brought this up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but nothing has been done to settle this issue."

Kupang district police and the governor's office have not reported any violence in the area.

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