Subject: LUSA: 1,000 weapons handed in during two-month voluntary disarmament

24-07-2006 11:36:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8198254 Temas:

East Timor: 1,000 weapons handed in during two-month voluntary disarmament

Dili, July 24 (Lusa) - The deadline for the voluntary hand in of weapons in strife-torn East Timor expired Monday and the commander of Australia's peacekeeping force said people now apprehended with arms would be detained.

Brig. Mick Slater told Lusa that 50 weapons had been turned in voluntarily Monday, the end of the two-month deadline set by President Xanana Gusmão on May 30, amid a wave of violence that pitted rival security force factions and communal gangs in fighting and rampages in Dili.

The registry of the more than 1,000 weapons surrendered during the period would now be verified and an audit of the national police armory would carried out during the next 10 days, Brig. Slater said.

After that, he added, the four-nation, 600-strong international police force, including a Portuguese paramilitary GNR contingent, would expand its patrols to around-the-clock operations and arrest anyone found illegally armed.

A similar earlier audit of army weaponry, Slater said, had disclosed that "less than a dozen arms" were missing.

In another development, newly installed Prime Minister José Ramos Horta ordered the government's interim inspector-general, Francisco de Carvalho, Friday to carry out a general audit of state departments to assess "the undue appropriation of and theft" of public funds and property during the crisis that erupted in late April.

In a communiqué, the prime minister also said de Carvalho's audit would also focus on salary arrears and absenteeism among civil servants during the months-long wave of violence and political turmoil.

Many government ministries, departments, courts and warehouses were looted during the crisis, resulting in the loss of documents, equipment and goods that have yet to be assessed.

"If we intend to serve the poor of this country and develop the nation's economy, we must have a civil service that is able to respond to needs efficiently, productively and honestly", Ramos Horta said.



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