Subject: AFP: UN recruits former Indonesian police as advisors in East Timor

Agence France Presse February 7, 2000, Monday

UN recruits former Indonesian police as advisors in East Timor

DILI, East Timor, Feb 7

A rise in crime has prompted the UN administration here to recruit about 200 former members of the Indonesian police, a UN spokesman said Monday.

The former police officers, all East Timorese, will serve as advisors to the UN's civilian police force (Civpol) of officers from around the world, said Manoel de Almeida e Silva, spokesman for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Almeida e Silva said the former Indonesian officers will not be members of Civpol and will not have powers of arrest.

They will advise Civpol about community structure, local culture relevant to law enforcement, and traditional crime patterns, de Almeida e Silva said.

"This is an interim arrangement," he added.

The former police will advise Civpol until the first East Timorese recruits graduate from the territory's new police academy, which has yet to recieve its first students.

UN officials initially hoped the academy would open its doors very early this year, but a delay in opening the school is not the main reason for hiring police advisors, de Alemida e Silva said.

"Most important is the rising crime."

On Monday, Australian and Italian soldiers as well as Civpol were called to the Dili market after a crowd chased a man and accused him of being a pro-Indonesia militiaman.

An UNTAET spokesman said the man was just an accused thief.

Civpol says it has stepped up patrols in the market area in response to recent violence and theft there.

De Alemida e Silva said the first group of 50 police advisors will deployed around East Timor by the end of February. The rest will be assigned to their posts by the end of April, he said.

UNTAET is authorized to employ 1,640 Civpol officers, 632 of whom are expected to be on the ground by February 15.

The UN has been administering East Timor since October 25 after voters overwhelmingly voted to break away from Indonesia, which invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

During the UN mission which prepared for East Timor's August 30 ballot, Civpol's role was reversed, and it acted as an advisor to the Indonesian police, most of whom were unwilling or unable to do their job effectively.

Indonesian police along with the Indonesian armed forces and militias have been implicated by the United Nations and by Indonesia's own human rights inquiry in atrocities that took place after the vote for independence.


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