Subject: RT: E.Timor must beef up police presence in Dili--PM

E.Timor must beef up police presence in Dili--PM

DILI, Aug 28 (Reuters) - East Timor's prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, said on Monday that it was urgent to increase the police presence in some parts of the capital to help stamp out continuing gang violence.

Calm has largely returned to the young nation after a wave of violence, arson and looting from April to June killed at least 20 people and prompted the government to invite international forces to restore order. Most of the chaos occurred in and around Dili.

But sporadic violence has continued involving gangs burning houses, or fighting one another with stones and homemade weapons.

"It's urgent to implement permanent police stations, 24 hours per day, in the most critical neighbourhoods of Dili," Ramos-Horta said in a statement after a special security meeting.

The United Nations agreed on Friday to send a new mission to East Timor, comprising 1,608 police, despite a dispute over whether Australian-led international troops already there should remain independent or be part of a U.N. force.

The head of the U.N. force, Antero Lopes, planned to open six police stations in Dili and increase patrols in areas with security problems, the statement said.

The new United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) is expected to arrive in about a month, Ramos-Horta said at the weekend. Timor Leste is the country's official name.

Last week President Xanana Gusmao suspended emergency measures introduced two months ago following the violence sparked by a split in the country's armed forces.

The roots of the initial violence were complex, with elements of political and regional rivalries flaring after then-prime minister Mari Alkatiri sacked nearly half the country's tiny army. He stepped down under pressure on June 26.

Alkatiri is suspected of arming civilians during the violence and the country's attorney general has barred him from leaving the country.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has since taken over as prime minister.


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