Skip to main content

UN says it will not tolerate violence in Timor-Leste

UN says it will not tolerate violence in Timor-Leste

UN vehicle damaged in violence
The top United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste has expressed concern at signs of a resurgence of gang fighting and mob violence in the nation’s capital, Dili, in the past 24 hours.

The fighting, which included rock-throwing and arson, occurred yesterday evening between two groups of approximately 100 people in the Bairro Pite area of Dili, according to the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), and continued this morning in the same area. Four small houses and a vehicle were burned.

Malaysian and Portuguese Formed Police Units along with UN Police and the International Stabilization Force (ISF) brought the situation under control, the mission said in a news release. There were no injuries and 17 people were arrested.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, visited the area this morning to talk with residents affected by the violence.

“While the police, with the assistance of the ISF, took control of the situation very quickly I am concerned to see fighting between groups of young people,” Mr Khare said.

“People who commit criminal acts will be treated as criminals by the police,” he added. “Claiming to act out of political motivation following last week’s election will not be tolerated.”

Mr. Khare said he had communicated to all Timorese leaders “that violence justified as political is unacceptable.”

President-elect, Jose Ramos Horta, the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri and the President of the Democratic Party Fernando Araujo Lasama “all agreed that any persons committing criminal acts who claim to be party supporters should be put in jail,” Mr Khare added.

In another development, the envoy formally congratulated Mr. Ramos-Horta on his victory in the country’s presidential election.

“During both rounds of the presidential election, all candidates have conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism, and showed respect for democratic principles,” Mr. Khare observed.

President-elect Ramos-Horta will be sworn in as the country’s second president at a ceremony in Dili on Sunday.