|Subject: Houses Torched In East Timorese
Village: UN Police - AFP
Houses Torched In East Timorese Village: UN Police - AFP
DILI (AFP)--Eight houses were torched early Friday in southern East Timor where international peacekeepers and UN police are on national patrol following a 2006 unrest, UN police said here.
The attacks came a day after a brawl on the capital Dili's streets between hundreds of gang members was dispersed by police firing warning shots.
The arson, which occurred in the village of Kunain in Covalima district, and the gang fights highlight the ongoing fragile security situation in the tiny, impoverished nation.
"Police arrived and dispersed the crowds, arresting four people. A total of eight houses had been burnt," the UN police said in a statement.
"A police taskforce has been set up to identify suspects, and UN police and Border Patrol Units remain in the village to prevent further trouble."
Speaking in Dili, senior policeman Mateus Fernandes earlier told reporters that the incident involved two rival youth gangs and was being investigated.
He had said seven houses had been torched in Suai, the capital of Covalima district, about 90 kilometers from Dili.
East Timor initially collapsed into chaos in April and May 2006, when security force factions waged battle on the streets, leaving at least 37 people dead and forcing about 155,000 people to flee their homes.
International peacekeepers and UN police were dispatched to maintain security but, according to the UN mission here, about 100,000 people are still in camps, either with no homes or too afraid to return to them.
President Jose Ramos-Horta has said he wants Australian-led peacekeepers to stay at least until the end of this year and the UN, with its 1,700 police, to remain until 2011.
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