Subject: LUSA: Viqueque Calm Ahead of Thursday Visit by Vieira de Mello

East Timor: Viqueque Calm Ahead of Thursday Visit by Vieira de Mello 14 Mar-18:36

The situation in East Timor's Viqueque district is "getting back to normal" in the wake of recent violence, UN sources told Lusa on Wednesday, a day before the chief UN transition administrator visits the region.

Two people were killed in the south coast district during Monday disturbances that also left about 40 houses destroyed.

The head of the UN transition administration (UNTAET), Sergio Vieira de Mello, will also visit Thursday the eastern city of Baucau, the scene of riots last week.

UNTAET spokeswoman Barbara Reis said Wednesday more than 600 people had been displaced by the Viqueque violence, 350 of whom had spent the last two nights at the local base of UN peacekeepers.

Dozens of residents fled to mountains on the outskirts of Viqueque, about 200 kms southeast of Dili; some 250 were said to have taken shelter near Bukarin village.

The situation in the Viqueque area was calm on Wednesday, with increased patrols by UN peacekeepers, civil police and the Jordanian rapid response unit.

Vieira de Mello's chief of staff, Parameswaran, visited Viqueque Wednesday and said the UN would henceforth apply a "zero tolerance" policy, meaning that no one will be allowed to carry weapons.

"UNTAET will react strongly to any future violence", he added.


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