Subject: LUSA: Dili's displaced grow as sporadic communal clashes continue

07-08-2006 15:45:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8236452 Temas:

East Timor: Dili's displaced grow as sporadic communal clashes continue

Dili, Aug. 7 (Lusa) - Portuguese police dispersed rival gangs of youths fighting and setting fires in the East Timorese capital at the weekend, detaining two people.

Capt. Gonçalo Carvalho told Lusa a GNR police patrol was stoned in Dili as it sought to break up fighting between 60 and 70 eastern "lorosae" and western "loromuno" youths in Dili's Bebonuk suburb Sunday after three houses were set ablaze.

Two Catholic Church institutions in the neighbourhood told Lusa they had received about 70 newly displaced people, who feared renewed flare-ups of communal violence.

"At this time, (Dili) continues to live with tensions between people originating from eastern and western parts" of East Timor, Capt. Carvalho, the commander of the GNR peacekeeping contingent, told Lusa.

The coordinator of UN humanitarian aid, Finn Reske-Nielsen, told Lusa Friday that the spectre of new violence continued to displace people, despite the presence of a nearly 3,000-strong international force and a gradual return of security to Dili since the arrival of the peacekeepers in late May.

Riske-Nielsen said the total number of displaced now totalled 152,000, about 72,000 of them in improvised camps in and around the capital.

"We hope the situation will be solved, but it's difficult because the people are still afraid", he said. "Even with the improved situation in Dili, the people are frightened and the fundamental problems are yet to be resolved".

In a related development, the three-member UN commission of inquiry into the causes of the violence that erupted in late April arrived Friday.

The commission, led by Sérgio Pinheiro of Brazil and backed up on the ground by some UN 50 investigators, will remain in Dili through Aug. 12 and return in September to ready its report.

The violence, which killed 37 people, displaced more than 150,000 and left much of Dili charred and looted, began April 28 in clashed between the army and former soldiers sacked for protesting alleged regional discrimination in the military.

Further fighting between rival security forces factions spiralled into communal gang rampages that led Dili to call in mostly Australian international peacekeepers and to the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri on June 26.

Alkatiri is under investigation by Timorese authorities on allegations he helped fuel the violence by arming political hit teams, charges he denies.

SAS/EL.

Lusa

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