Subject: TLGOV: Update on situation May 2, 2006

I attach a statement on the situation - May 2, 2006


Chris Santos Media Advisor +670 7297099



02 May 2006

For immediate release


Throughout the last 72 hours, life in Dili and outer suburbs was slowly returning back to normal with only a few isolated minor incidents which were dealt peacefully by Police.

At around 9am yesterday, a group of youths blocked the road Becora ­ Motaulun to prevent outsiders from entering the area. They took this action after hearing rumors that an outside youth group was planning to attack their suburb. They were quickly reassured that it was police responsibility to keep law and order and the issue was quickly resolved.

At about 12 noon, also yesterday, shopkeepers at Audian received threats from an unknown group demanding the shops to be open or they, the shops, would be set on fire. Again, quick action by police reassured the shopkeepers of their and their shops’ safety and that order would prevail.

Finally around 5.30pm, there was a minor scuffle near Comoro market, again brought quickly under control by police, in which a 20-year-old man was injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

Yesterday as well, in a joint initiative, Police and Military Police, toured Dili and outer suburbs to interface with the population and reassure that the situation was calm and under control. No more incidents were registered at all overnight and so far today.

After the long weekend (yesterday was a public holiday), people seemed relieved of being able to return today, Tuesday, May 2, to their workplaces and resume their normal activities. However, police reports that traffic is still not at its full level.

Nevertheless, displaced people have started to return to their homes with more than 1,100 leaving Dom Bosco. Also, many people who had left Dili because of concerns for their safety are now returning with Police reporting a good influx.

Unfortunately there are still too many unfounded rumors and this, despite the best efforts of the Government and law enforcement authorities to reassure the public in general that all is under control, has led some residents to leave Dili.

In its efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the violence and destruction unleashed on Friday against innocent people and property, Police has detained another 25 suspects, bringing those detained so far to a total of 101, of which 13 are ex-FDTL members. The Ombudsman (Provedor de Justiça) will have unrestricted access to all detainees.

Meanwhile, the policeman critically injured by the hooligans during Friday’s rampage, has now been evacuated to Darwin for treatment.

The Government has continued its efforts to have the Commission of Investigation start its process to establish the truth and root causes of the dismissed soldiers’ grievances.

While the Government has already appointed Senior Minister and Minister of State Administration, Dr Ana Pessoa, and Vice-Minister for the Interior, Alcino Barris, as its representatives to serve in the Investigation Commission, as have HE President Xanana and National Parliament appointed theirs, the Friday incidents and the long weekend hiatus has, unfortunately but understandably, prevented other bodies from selecting their representatives.

It is understood that the Government is now only waiting for the names of those representing the Catholic Church, NGOs Forum and the Judiciary, before announcing the full make up of the Commission.

The Government continues its endeavors to ensure that Mr Gastão Salsinha and his ex-FDTL colleagues, present themselves to police to clear their names of Friday’s destructive actions and can play a constructive part in the investigation process. -


For further information please contact: Chris Santos Assessor de Imprensa/Media Advisor Cabinet Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Tel: +670 729 7099

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