Subject: AFP: 25 held in Timor after Aussie assault

25 held in Timor after Aussie assault

From correspondents in Dili

August 21, 2006 07:36pm

Agence France-Presse

INTERNATIONAL police in East Timor said today they had detained 25 people after an Australian police officer was assaulted and six homes were burned in the latest unrest in the capital.

"The trouble at Fatuhada on Saturday included an incident where an Australian police officer was cornered and kicked by local gang members," Australian Federal Police superintendent Tim Dahlstrom said.

Twenty-five people were detained for carrying weapons and rioting, including a government worker who was arrested for assaulting the officer.

The weapons included slingshots, darts, spears and knives, he said.

Supt Dahlstrom rejected local reports that 50 houses were burned and some 1500 youths were involved, saying six houses and a shed were torched while 200 people at most had caused the trouble.

"I can assure the people of Dili that the situation has not dramatically deteriorated," he said.

"There were other isolated incidents in other parts of Dili on Saturday, however most of Dili was peaceful and the public were going about their normal business."

Supt Dahlstrom said 268 arrests had been made by international police since they were deployed as part of a 3200-strong peacekeeping force tasked with restoring calm in the strife-torn capital in May.

Infighting among factions in East Timor's tiny military and police, triggered by the dismissal of some 600 deserting soldiers, led to at least 21 deaths and degenerated into ethnic warfare on the streets.

The communal violence pitched youths from East Timor's eastern districts against those from the west.

Saturday's unrest came a day after the United Nations warned of an upsurge of violence in refugee camps, where up to 150,000 people have been seeking shelter in both the capital and outside districts since the violence in May.


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