04 May 2006

For immediate release


The Commission of Investigation established to find the truth of the allegations made by ex-FDTL members and to get to the root of the causes of their discontent with the army has started working.

The Government representative in the Commission, Senior Minister and Minister of State Administration, Dra. Ana Pessoa, has appointed the district administrators to help reach the ex-FDTL members, the so-called petitioners.

Each district administrator, with a local representative of PNTL and the local representative of the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion, will make its best efforts to identify each of the ‘petitioners’ ­ either directly or through their families ­ in order to register them to enable the payment of a subsidy until such a time as the Commission completes its investigation.

This process will also serve to help each of the ex-FDTL members to be re-integrated into the civilian life, with the Government making its best endeavours to find them appropriate jobs.

Their identification and registration will be also useful in determining if any died or was injured during the violence and rampage of Friday, April 28. This information will be duly passed on to the Comissão de Verificação de Dados sobre Mortos e Feridos (Committee for the Verification of Details about Dead and Injured).

This Committee is made up of Antoninho Bianco, Minister for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers; Arsénio Bano, Minister for Labour and Community Reinsertion, secretary-general Eugénio Soares and Aida Mota; from the Ministry for the Interior, PNTL Commander Paulo Martins, and Justino Jesus; from the Health Ministry, Fernando Bonaparte; the Administrator of the Dili District, Ruben Carvalho; and representing the Red Cross of Timor-Leste, Isabel Guterres (president) and Luís Freitas.

Dra. Ana Pessoa got the Commission of Investigation process under way during her regular consultation with district administrators, this time in Ainaro.

Meanwhile, although for the last few days no incidents related to the events of April 28 were registered, unfounded, alarmist rumours have continued to circulate causing a feeling of fear among the population. This, unfortunately, despite attempts by the Presidency, the Government and the law and order authorities, has led to a significant exodus from Dili.

During a joint media conference this morning at Palácio das Cinzas, following their regular meeting, both HE President Xanana and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, appealed once again for calm, asking the population to return home. The Prime Minister himself acknowledged that the only problem that exists at the moment is how to stop the alarmist rumours.

Police (PNTL) has been instructed to coordinate with local authorities in each suburb in order that the ‘abandoned’ homes be protected.

As well, at the meeting between Prime Minister Alkatiri with President Xanana, also attended by Interior Minister Rogério Lobato and Defence Minister Roque Rodrigues, it was decided to order FDTL members, who since Friday have patrolled areas of Dili to return to their barracks. They also ordered that PNTL members carrying automatic firearms also withdraw from patrol.

This decision was taken as it is believed that the presence of armed soldiers in the streets may be a contributing factor in the fear being felt by the public in general. It is hoped this will ease the concerns and reassure the population that all is under control. ­ ENDS

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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