Subject: DPA: U.N. police to beef up patrols amid increasing East Timor violence

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

February 2, 2001, Friday, BC Cycle

U.N. police to beef up patrols amid increasing East Timor violence

Dili, East Timor

United Nations civilian police in East Timor said Friday they would increase security patrols in the capital Dili following a sudden upsurge in violence, including several assaults on U.N. police officers.

"Of course, CivPol is not happy at the level of violence," said Commissioner Luis Carrilho, the U.N.'s Portuguese police spokesman. "In some of these cases we've made arrests - other arrests are expected. East Timor is a rule-of-law state where no one is above the law."

The increased foot and vehicle patrols, particularly in the evenings, follow a spate of violence often involving large gangs of umemployed youths.

On Tuesday evening, members of a civilian police patrol were kicked and assaulted in the Dili suburb of Komoro by 60 youths after being called to investigate an argument near a petrol station. The gang fled after reinforcements arrived.

Early Wednesday, police were called to a fire in Komoro in which two vehicles owned by the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor were set on fire. No one was injured, and the police said they expected to make arrests soon.

Later Wednesday morning, a vehicle belonging to the Portuguese riot police was severely damaged and two police officers injured when a protest outside Dili University turned violent.

The incident was triggered when the police tried to arrest a taxi driver for driving down a one-way street. His two passengers, both believed to be political activists, abused the police and one tried to grab a police service pistol, Carrilho said.

In the ensuing struggle, hundreds of university students poured into the street and stoned the police vehicle and nearby U.N. offices. The university's rector later released a statement warning students not to be "manipulated" by unnamed political parties.

On Wednesday evening, the Portuguese riot police were called out again to quell mob violence in the Dili suburb of Becora, where a group of 80 people armed with pipes, machetes and clubs was attacking a house. Several people were wounded during the violence and later admitted to the Red Cross hospital. dpa md jc


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