Indonesia: Refugees swim to boat

 A boat load of mainly Christian refugees arrived in West Timor on Wednesday night, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has reported. The refugees arrived in Kupang on the ferry 'Dobonsolo' at about 8pm, said IOM spokeswoman Niurka Pineiro. Aid workers estimated there were about 1,000-1,500 people. "We have 12 buses at the port. The people are being moved to a Protestant church compound which has a huge garden,'' said Pineiro. "They are coming with very few belongings and they just look exhausted.'' The ferry left the city of Ambon on Monday. Pineiro said it had been unable to anchor in the port there and many of the refugees were so desperate to get away that they had swum to the boat. On BBC2's Newsnight on Wednesday night, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid dismissed the troubles in the Molluccas. He said "a hundred or so" might be involved in the fighting. Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab will visit UN headquarters in New York next month. He said Indonesia would "never" tolerate foreign intervention, although it would welcome the dispatch of humanitarian aid to refugees. More than 4,000 people have been killed and half a million driven from their homes over the past 18 months.

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