Subject: AFP: 26 arrested over fatal martial arts clashes

26 arrested over fatal martial arts clashes

From correspondents in Dili

December 06, 2006 04:32pm Article from: Agence France-Presse

UN police have arrested 26 people on suspicion of involvement in deadly clashes between East Timor martial arts gangs that have left two people dead and six badly wounded, a spokeswoman said.

The UN police confirmed two people had been killed during ongoing clashes between rival martial arts groups which erupted on Sunday in the capital Dili.

"Until now, the police have made 26 detentions in the last 48 hours, so we have arrested 26 people. And last night 40 weapons were seized, namely darts and machetes," UNPOL spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues said.

One man was hacked to death and another beaten to death in clashes between rival martial arts gangs in Dili on Sunday and Monday.

The resurgence of gang violence has already prompted Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta to warn that he would crackdown on some martial arts groups.

The tiny nation was rocked in April and May by clashes between security force factions which quickly degenerated into street violence involving youth gangs.

At least 37 people died in the bloodshed, which prompted the deployment of 3200 Australian-led peacekeepers to restore calm.

Their numbers have since been reduced to around 1100, bolstered by the presence of about 1000 UN police.

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