The UN will provide an increased security response in Dili
20th February, 2007 Dili - The Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr Atul Khare said United Nations police along with the police of Timor Leste will enhance security arrangements across Dili in response to growing violence in the capital.
At approximately 3.50am today UNPol officers attended an incident of fighting and arson in Kampung Alor. The officers of the formed police unit responded within five minutes, however one person had been killed prior to their arrival. The fire brigade also attended but despite their best efforts they were not able to contain the blaze and six houses were burnt.
This morning, SRSG Khare visited the area along with the Minister of the Interior Alcino Barris and spoke with the residents remaining in the locality. He also expressed his condolences to the family of the victim and his sympathy to those affected by this morning's violence.
SRSG Khare said he was extremely distressed at the continuing violence related to inter-gang rivalry in Dili. "I am convinced that the people of Timor Leste deserve better and the United Nations in conjunction with national policing authorities and the International Security Forces are working to provide that."
UNPol are also investigating an incident in which 700 bags of rice were stolen from a World Food Program warehouse in Dili. When UNPol arrived at the scene, a large crowd of people attacked the warehouse throwing stones at UNPol officers, security guards and warehouse staff. The damaged warehouse has been repaired and the WFP has announced that no further distribution will take place until further notice and after due security clearance.
Later today, and also in Dili, two protestors were arrested for having organised an unauthorized demonstration in front of the Palacio de Gobierno. The protest, organized by university students from UNPAZ over the price and distribution of rice, failed to meet the legal requirements guaranteed under the Law of Freedom Assembly and Demonstration. UNMIT remains committed to the freedom of assembly and demonstration while upholding respect for all applicable laws of Timor Leste.
UNPol are also on alert for a planned demonstration in Dili tomorrow by protestors from the group Movement for National Unity and Justice (MUNJ). It is believed that 12 vehicles left Same for Aileu at 4.20 this afternoon carrying approximately 500 people with the intention of continuing on to Dili. In addition to those, it has been reported to UNPol that about 50 people are gathering in Bobonaro with the intention of coming to Dili to protest.
For additional information, please contact: Allison Cooper, Spokesperson at +670 723 0453 or Donna Cusumano at +670 723 0749.