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Timor-Leste: new UN-backed police station to patrol troubled areas in Dili

Timor-Leste: new UN-backed police station to patrol troubled areas in Dili

A ceremony was held today in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, establishing the United Nations-backed Bairro Pite Police Post to bring a permanent law enforcement presence to the most troubled areas of the city which has seen ongoing gang violence.

Today’s inauguration formalized an agreement between the UN mission in the country, known as UNMIT, and the Government, signalling the end of the mission’s renovation of the police post, including the installation of new electrical wiring, generators and security lights.

“I hope that the physical presence of this police post will bring some peace of mind to the citizens who reside in this area knowing that a 24-hour police presence will be working to better serve their community,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Atul Khare said.

After gang violence flared late last month resulting in one death, three police posts were established in the Comoro subdistrict in Kampung Merdeka, Fatuhada and Bairro Pite.

Security Council resolution 1704, adopted last 25 August, calls for up to 1,608 UN Police Officers (UNPOL) to aid in restoring and maintaining public security through the support of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), which includes interim law enforcement. As of the end of last month, there are currently 1,472 UNPOL officers in the country.

Last week, the official campaigning period began for next month’s presidential election, slated for 9 April, the first since Timor-Leste gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, and Mr. Khare has said that UNMIT will offer assistance to national authorities whenever needed during the election period.

Eric Tan, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, said last week that nearly 1,000 UNPOL officers and more than 2,400 Timorese national police officers will be on duty across the country during the election campaign. The police will concentrate on protecting polling stations and responding to any security issues such as armed clashes, fires or roadblocks.