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Timor-Leste remains tense following post-election unrest, UN reports

Timor-Leste remains tense following post-election unrest, UN reports

The security situation in Timor-Leste remained tense today, with United Nations police officers and their international and national colleagues fully deployed to end post-election violence in the small South-East Asian country that the world body helped shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

There were no reports of serious security incidents in Dili, the capital, but police conducted an operation against people who had been throwing stones at passing vehicles, arresting and charging 14 people.

Yesterday in Dili district police continued to receive reports of rock throwing and public disturbances, mostly at night, with 11 UN cars damaged and 19 people arrested throughout the day.

At a news conference today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Atul Khare again strongly condemned the violence which he said was regrettably being committed by people who claim an allegiance to the former ruling party FRETILIN.

The worst affected areas yesterday were Watulari and Viqueque subdistricts, east of Dili, where 110 houses were burnt in violence stemming from longstanding ethnic tensions, according to initial indications. In Oecussi, the subdistrict administration building was burnt down.

The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in Timor-Leste after violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions broke out in April and May last year, killing at least 37 people and forcing 155,000 others, 15 per cent of the population, to flee their homes.

Tensions have risen again after the 30 June legislative elections failed to produce a single outright winner. A new Government led by former president Xanana Gusmão was sworn in yesterday.