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East Timor mourns death of UN peacekeeping force’s top military observer

East Timor mourns death of UN peacekeeping force’s top military observer

East Timor government officials and United Nations senior military officers have paid tribute to the UN’s top military observer in the country, who died over the weekend.

Brig. Gen. Paulo Pereira Guerreiro, 55, passed away Sunday morning in Dili. There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, according to the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).

During a memorial service on Sunday, UN Peacekeeping Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tan Huck Gim hailed the late Brigadier General Guerreiro for his experience and professionalism. “Even up till late [Saturday] night, General Guerreiro was busy planning his presentation in Japan on the work done by the peacekeeping force of [the UN mission],” General Tan said.

General Guerreiro had been the UN Chief Military Observer in East Timor since July, serving previously as the peacekeeping force’s Chief of Staff from December 2001.

A graduate of the Portuguese Military Academy, General Guerreiro was an infantry officer who had a distinguished military career, held a number of command roles and served in Angola during the Portuguese colonial war.

The memorial service was also attended by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Secretary of State for Defence Roque Rodrigues and Brig. Gen. Taur Matan Ruak of the FALINTIL–FDTL. Representing the United Nations were deputy UNMISET chief Sukehiro Hasegawa and members of the UN peacekeeping force.

The Deputy Chief Military Observer, Col. Abdul Latif Harun, will serve as acting Chief Military Observer until a new head is appointed.

In other news, tomorrow will be the last working day for Maj. Gen. Tim Ford, the Military Adviser of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. General Ford, who took office on 13 September 2000, will be returning to Australia.

Until a replacement is named, the Deputy Military Advisor, Maj. Gen. Chitra Bahadur Gurung, will be the acting military adviser.