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Six more UN vehicles damaged in new rock-throwing incidents in Timor-Leste

Six more UN vehicles damaged in new rock-throwing incidents in Timor-Leste

Six more United Nations vehicles have been damaged and a UN police officer slightly hurt in rock-throwing incidents in Timor-Leste since last night as the security situation remains tense following post-election violence in the small South-East Asian country that the world body helped shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

But there were no reports of major incidents, UN Police (UNPOL) reported. UNPOL responded to four incidents today in Dili, the capital, in which two UN cars were damaged and one UNPOL officer sustained minor injuries. Police arrested one suspect. Last night in Dili sporadic rock throwing damaged four UN vehicles.

At a meeting yesterday in Baucau, east of Dili, leaders of the former ruling party FRETILIN told to supporters that local village and sub-village chiefs will be held responsible for any violence that occurs in their area. In nearby Viqueque, a high-ranking FRETILIN official met with supporters and urged them not to commit any violent acts.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Atul Khare has said violence, which erupted after the announcement of a new Government last Monday, was “regrettably” being committed by people who claim an allegiance to FRETILIN. Parliamentary elections in June failed to produce a single outright winner.

UNPOL has arrested 34 people in connection with the violence in the eastern part of the country over the past few days. In Baucau, 21 people have been arrested and charged with creating a public disturbance including blocking roads, throwing stones and burning tyres. Two more people were arrested and charged with making home-made weapons.

In Quelicai, nine people have been arrested for carrying illegal weapons in connection with their alleged role in the attack on a UN convoy on Friday. A further two people have been arrested for alleged arson in Quelicai for the burning of houses.

UNPOL, together with the national police and the International Stabilization Force (ISF), remain fully deployed to put a stop to any violence.

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.