Situation calm in Dili

One week after the violence related to the protest by former FALINTIL-Timor-Leste Defence Force troops, the situation on this Friday, 5 May 2006 remains calm in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste.

There are some citizens people still leaving town ­ heading to the districts ­ but the numbers are few compared to the exodus of yesterday when it is estimated that thousands of people left the capital. The panic related to unsubstantiated rumours that said that the former militaries would attack the town.

Those whom remained in Dili are living life as usual. The telecommunications are now working well after a couple of days where the overloaded mobile phone network made calls hard to connect calls. Some people have had reported some difficulty getting to work due to the lack of public transportation as microlets were scarce. Some taxi drivers were profiteering by charging 5 USD per trip for a journey that usually costs 50 cents to 1 USD.

Last night was also calm. Some feared that empty houses could have been subject to looting, but this has not happened. The cooperation between the National Police and the local authorities in Dili has worked flawlessly.

Early in the morning, during a meeting between the President Xanana Gusmão, the Prime Minister and journalists in Palácio das Cinzas, the Prime Minister said that by Monday, May 8, that the Government expects all public servants to return to work. Anyone still absent on Monday will be subject to disciplinary action.

The Prime Minister also revealed the conclusions of the Committee for the Audit of Damaged Property and Goods. This Committee was established after the events of 28 April, and comprises a representative each from the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion, as well as the Administrator of the District of Dili. The Prime Minister announced that the Committee found that 45 houses were totally destroyed, and 116 houses were damaged. This destruction took place in the neighbourhoods of Taci-Tolu, near the roundabout at the airport, Manlewana, Fomento, Taibessi and Becora.

The Government will take responsibility for the responsibility for the rebuilding of 45 new homes to replace those totally destroyed. The Government will also repair the damage done to the market stalls at Taibesse, and will start work on a plan for a new, totally refurbished Taibesse Market on the same site.

High Level Commission

Members of the High Level Commission looking into the alleged problems inside F-FDTL were sworn in this morning in a ceremony in the Council of Ministers Room inside the Palacio do Governo. This Commission will review the allegations of discrimination inside the army made by the former soldiers known as “peticionários”.

In a short statement, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of this Commission´s work. “Today, in swearing in this High Level Commission we are demonstrating our commitment to investigate the core issues raised by the former soldiers ­ we will not just concentrate on the events of April 28”, said the Prime Minister.

The Commission is comprised of representatives of the 4 pillars of the state plus the Catholic Church and civil society. The 10 members of the Commission are: Longuinhos Monteiro and Sebastião Ximenes, nominated by the President; Francisco Miranda Branco and Pedro Mártires da Costa, nominated by the National Parliament; Ana Pessoa and Alcino Baris, nominated by the Government; Padre António Gonçalves, nominated by the Catholic Church; Aniceto das Neves, from Associação HAK, and Tiago Sarmento, from the Judicial System Monitoring Program. The latter two are consultative members to the Commission. Members of the Government and Ambassadors attended the ceremony.

The Commission is headed by Ana Pessoa, Senior Minister and Minister for State Administration. Immediately after being sworn in, the members of the Commission held their first meeting. They will present their conclusions in 90 days.

Dili, May 5 2006

For further information please contact the Media Advisor: Rui Flores (tel. +670 723 01 40 or rui.flores @

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