Subject: Lusa: Private Security Groups Pose Threat to Peace - Portuguese Commander

East Timor: Private Security Groups Pose Threat to Peace - Portuguese Commander 
27 Jun-11:47

With political rivalries heating up in East Timor, the commander of the Portuguese peacekeeping contingent warned Tuesday of the potential dangers posed by the territory's crop of self-defense and private security forces.

Interviewed by Lusa in Dili, Col. Eduardo Manuel Lima Pinto said the various groups could "very easily" turn to violence against each other as the countdown begins to the August congress of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), the territory's umbrella political movement.

"I don't view this with good eyes," Lima Pinto said.

"My experience tells me that normally when one enters a phase of political conflict, political debate, the tendency is to think that security is insufficient and seek, what we call, "equalizers."

He said there was a risk that "from bare hands" the private or partisan security groups could move to using "sticks and stones, then machetes and firearms."

Creating "national institutions" was "fundamental", Lima Pinto said, adding that security should be "a monopoly of the state."

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