On the frontlines: UN Police Officer from Nigeria, Hamimat Lawal, in Timor-Leste

26 May 2011

On the frontlines: UN Police Officer from Nigeria, Hamimat Lawal, in Timor-Leste

Dili, 26 May 2011 - From community policing to navigating the duties of a national staff officer in Timor-Leste, the 30-year-old Hamimat Lawal's job as a UN peacekeeper is anything but boring.

Before her deployment to UNMIT in November 2010, Hamimat was a staff officer with the Nigerian force secretary for six years.

"I came to Timor-Leste because I wanted to gain first-hand experience and to see how the UN police was working in the field," said Hamimat.

"This provided an opportunity to deal with cases of domestic violence, stone throwing and accidents," says Hamimat.
"I recall a domestic violence incident that happened in Becora," said Hamimat. "As part of the patrol team on duty, we followed up on a woman's complaint of assault by her husband. When we arrived at her house, it was heart rending to see a pregnant woman in a pool of blood."

The woman was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment while her husband was arrested and handed over to the Dili Detention Unit.

Hamimat says she was nervous when she first arrived in Timor-Leste, but soon was immersed in the challenges of the work and the country's unique beauty and culture.

"It's a stunning country. Its mountains and beaches are beautiful and green. And everywhere there are children playing."

After working in community policing, Hamimat moved on to the UNPOL headquarters in the country's capital, Dili, where she works in recruitment and administration.

"My mother was proud that I was working for a UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste and of course she worried," Hamimat said. "But I figured that if I could help the people here, even in a small way, then I had to do it. That is my contribution."

For more information, please contact:
Raabya Amjad, Public Information Officer, UNMIT at
Mobile: +670 7326475).