New Round of Violence in East Timor

In her latest post from East Timor, blogger Timorsunshine writes about the latest incident in Dili.

Apparently the gang war ranging in the airport area has become so bad that the Comoro bridge was blocked off and the airport actually shut down, and attacked by the people living in the camp nearby. The AirNorth flight was cancelled and apparently 2 international soldiers were hurt in the fray, and that real bullets (not GNR rubber ones) were flying about.

The perpetual cycle of violence has the blogger frustrated

I'm really quite disappointed with the state of affairs here. Just last week, things were still quite calm but now the #$%%^^&* are out making trouble again. And with the airport closed – it's bad bad bad PR in the world man! It's like Lebanon being attacked by Israel except our airport got attacked by angry disenfranchised locals.

The blogger at Dili-gence writing from Dili, the capital of East Timor was shopping last Sunday

Mid-afternoon I went to Landmark supermarket and noticed the streets extremely quiet if not deserted. There were a couple of police vehicles with small crowds around them but otherwise nothing. I thought something must be “going down” (a phrase often used here) when I saw (& heard) the Blackhawk doing quite small circling in an area of Fatuhada only a couple of hundred metres away.

After the violence earlier in April/May that involved a faction of the army and local gangs, East Timor is being policed by UN forces and things on the ground were relatively quieter. The blogger continues

Later in the day, Radio Australia reported trouble following the discovery of 2 human torsos in the Comorro market area. RA reported that 100 foreign police were called in.

Comment left by Dilidweller on the post illustrates the lack of concrete information on the incident. Rumours and lack of information in the past have help fuel violence

Yes, we are hearing the same. Security officials for a variety of organizations around town (embassies, ngo’s, etc.) are all unable to comfirm anything about mutilated bodies being found in sacks. Assumption is someone is trying to stir up trouble through misinformation–though still anything is possible.

On a comment about the security situation in Dili, the blogger responds

During the day, I tend to think things are OK but most people are wary from dusk onwards. There is not much movement at night and by 4WD vehicle only. Most expats do not tend to live in the real problem areas although the Fatuhada and Bebonuk areas have tended to be both trouble spots and some expats do live in that area.

In general, the guarded residence compounds are fine. Guns have not been used for quite some time and the UN police do respond quickly to trouble. They advise that if you see either a large group of locals or a police roadblock, to simply turn around and consider a route change. A mobile phone with the UN police number on hand is advisable.


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