/** reg.easttimor: 3701.0 **/

** Topic: Jakarta to resettle 150,000 E.Timorese "inside Indonesia" **
** Written 3:37 AM Sep 15, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Jakarta to resettle 150,000 E.Timorese "inside Indonesia"

Jakarta to resettle East Timorese border crossers within two months

KUPANG, Indonesia, Sept 15 (AFP) - The Indonesian government wants to resettle within two months the estimated 150,000 people who have been driven from East Timor in the past weeks, a minister said Wednesday.

Resettlement Minister Hendropriyono said here the refugees would be resettled inside Indonesia, most of them in the eastern islands.

"We have been given a limit by the central government that within two months, the refugees should already be distributed in various regions, they should be quickly resettled otherwise it could cause social unrest," Hendropriyono said.

By late on Tuesday the exodus from violence-wracked East Timor had brought 150,696 people into West Timor which is part of East Nusatenggara province, officials here said.

Hendropriyono said the government was currently preparing to resettle some 100,000 people in designated areas in East Nusatenggara and the rest to other Indonesian provinces.

"In handling the refugees, we are preparing (resettlement) locations within East Nusatenggara (province)," Hendropriyono said.

He said a total of some 100,000 people or 20,000 families, could be resettled in East Nusatenggara with 11,450 families in non-irrigated areas.

"Above this capacity, willing or not, we will have to resettle them out of East Nusatenggara," he said.

One of the locations currently prepared in West Timor was in Sulamu, which is a new town being developed to become the main town of the Kupang district, some 50 kilometres southwest of here.

Officials have said that Sulamu could accommodate up to 8,000 families or about 40,000 people.

Hendropriyono said that for areas outside East Nusantenggara, the government would give priority to the people who fled East Timor.

The government, he said, will relocate them to settlements prepared for "local resettlers" and settlers moved from the densely-populated islands of Java, Bali and Madura under the government's resettlement program.

Under the controversial resettlement program, each family is entitled to two hectares of land, with one hectare devoted to commercial crops.

East Timor has seen unchecked rampages by pro-indonesian militias since the outcome of the pro-independence ballot there was announced on September 4.

The violence has left whole cities and towns devastated and hundreds of thousands of people have fled to the hills inside the territory.

Many of the refugees brought here in military ships and planes from the East here have told aid agencies and journalists that they were driven out of East Timor against their will by the military and the militia, and that they want to return home when conditions permit.

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **