Subject: AKI: Shoot to Kill 'The Only Way to Halt the Violence'

EAST TIMOR: SHOOT TO KILL 'THE ONLY WAY TO HALT THE VIOLENCE'

Dili, 25 October (AKI) - Following the resurgence of gang violence in East Timor, a village leader has asked United Nations police deployed there to shoot to kill the troublemakers. "The situation is very complicated. The UNPOL (UN police) should shoot to kill the troublemakers at the scene so that the fighting can be avoided," Comoro Village chief, Lino Mesquita, told reporters at Dili International Airport on Wednesday. The airport has been closed due the growing violence in the tiny southeast Asian country East Timor civil aviation and airport director, Romaldo da Silva, said that he could not risk the safety of his staff.

"I do not want take any risks in this matter. There is no security for me and my staff. Even now, as we speak, I cannot go to my office because fighting is on going," da Silva told journalists.

Violence broke out again when two men from the east of the tiny country were killed on Monday. This has continued through Wednesday, when one man from the west, Assis Hendrique da Silva, 25, was shot dead.

According to analysts, the latest violence was triggered by the release of an 18 October report published by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste. This said much of the violence could be attributed to the weakness of the rule of law in the country.

The report recommended further investigation of allegations that former prime minister Mari Alkatiri knew about the setting up of an armed civilian militias but did nothing to stop them. It also urged legal action to be taken against powerful men such as former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, police commander Paulo Martins, former defence minister Roque Rodrigues and defence force chief Taur Matan Ruak.

Dili National Hospital director, Antonio Caleres, confirmed that 47 people have been injured and four killed since the report was made public. "Thirteen of them are in a critical condition," he told reporters on Wednesday.

East Timor's division along ethnic and geographic lines has been identified as one of the main causes of the riots which erupted in May. East Timorese from the east are known as 'lorosae', while those from the west are 'loromonu'. The former accused the latter of having collaborated with Indonesia during its occupation of the country.

Alkatiri's sacking of 600 members of the 1,400-strong army - mainly lorosae who claimed they were discriminated against by the mostly loromonu officers - sparked protests that developed into widespread violence. The May riots led to the death of 37 people, the displacement of 155,000 and the fall of Alkatiri's government. About 2,500 peacekeepers from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia were deployed to restore order.

(Fsc/Gui/Aki)

Oct-25-06 11:50


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