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Timor: Violence Drives 1000s From Homes


Thousands Driven From Their Homes In Post-Electoral Violence In Timor-Leste - UN

Post-electoral violence in Timor-Leste, including arson and rock-throwing, has reportedly driven at least 4,000 people from their homes in two eastern districts in the small South-East Asian country, forcing them to stay in the mountains or in convents, schools and compounds considered safe, according to United Nations humanitarian officials.

In Viqueque and Baucau districts, 323 houses have been reported burnt and 52 damaged since unrest erupted last week after the announcement of a new government following the June elections, which failed to produce a single outright winner, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Several villages have been severely damaged in Watulari sub-district, while villages around Viqueque town have also been affected. The functioning of public transport and schools has been disrupted and food, water and medical supplies are becoming short on the market, OCHA added.

Road travel within and between the districts of Baucau and Viqueque remains restricted due to security concerns especially after a UN convoy was ambushed on 10 August.

UN Police (UNPol) reported today that the situation over the last 24 hours remained tense, particularly in Viqueque and Baucau districts, but that Dili, the capital, was calm.

UNPol, together with the national police and the International Stabilization Force, remains fully deployed to stop any violence in the country, which the UN helped shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

In Dili today, UNPol attended to six incidents, none of which was major. Yesterday in Dili district, there were isolated incidents of rock throwing, concentrating around the airport and Metinaro. Three people were arrested and there were no reports of injuries.

Political leaders have been travelling to the east of the country to condemn the recent violence. Two days ago in Baucau, leaders of the former ruling party FRETILIN told supporters that local village and sub-village chiefs will be held responsible for any violence that occurs in their area. In 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 the violence was �regrettably� being committed by people claiming allegiance to FRETILIN.

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.

ENDS

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