The UN Condemns violence in Baucau and Viqueque

5 Jul 2008

The UN Condemns violence in Baucau and Viqueque

Dili, August 8, 2007 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, has strongly condemned the violence in Baucau and Viqueque over the past 24-hours.

At least seven buildings in Baucau, including three government facilities, three non-government organization offices and one court, as well as seven private houses in Viqueque, have been set on fire. Other violence has included widespread stoning of vehicles and buildings.

United Nations police officers (UNPol) in conjunction with the national police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Security Forces (ISF) have been fully deployed to contain and put a stop to the violence. Approximately 224 tear gas shells have been used along with rubber bullets to disperse the groups involved. Two UNPol officers have been injured, one seriously. An additional formed police platoon is being sent to Baucau today as reinforcement.

Since yesterday, 45 people have been arrested for their participation in the violence in Baucau.

"I strongly condemn this violence that is regrettably being committed by people who claim an allegiance to Fretilin" Mr. Khare said.

Recalling that the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Dr. Mari Alkatiri had earlier strongly condemned all acts of violence and had assured the Special Representative that Fretilin would take all possible steps to calm the situation, Mr. Khare stressed that "it is essential that the message of non-violence be communicated strongly and repeatedly until it is respected by all."

The UN Special Representative Mr. Khare will travel to Baucau and Viqueque on Saturday with President José Ramos-Horta to assure the population that the State is acting to quickly re-establish peace.