|Subject: LUSA: Violence in Baucau, UN Sends
Also: Population turns against Jordanian UN forces in Baucau
East Timor: Violence in Baucau, UN Sends Team 8 Mar-20:59
A team of high-ranking United Nations officials was sent Thursday to East Timor's second city, Baucau, which has been racked by three days of violence.
The team, which includes Peter Galbraith, the political affairs minister of East Timor's UN transition administration (UNTAET), headed from Dili to Baucau at a time when the reasons for the violence that flared last Tuesday are still unknown.
A police source told Lusa there was still no concrete data on the causes or those responsible for the incidents. He nevertheless admitted that there were reports that the radical group CDP-RDTL (Popular Defense Commission - Democratic Republic of East Timor) was involved.
The same source specified that the increased tensions appeared due to the reaction of local residents, supported by radicals, against the Tuesday night arrest of 16 people, three of whom remain in custody.
East Timorese sources told Lusa that two of the detainees, one of whom was in possession of a grenade, were former members of the pro-independence Falintil force (the recently disbanded armed wing of the East Timorese resistance).
The height of the violence occurred Tuesday night, when residents burned the local mosque, completely destroying the building. They also stoned the UN car in which district administrator Marito Reis and East Timorese and foreign UN personnel were traveling.
During the last months of Indonesia's 1975-1999 occupation of East Timor, Marito Reis was the top representative of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) in Bacau and was regularly threatened by anti-independence militias.
The first problems were noted Tuesday night when, for unknown reasons, about 50 local residents surrounded and stoned a patrol of a Jordanian rapid response unit.
UN civil police spokesman Luis Carrilho said the crowd tried to prevent other units from reaching the area to help the patrol, "which had to use force, detaining 16 people".
Tensions resumed on Wednesday when a group of protesters set up roadblocks of burning tires, surrounding and attacking members of the Jordanian police, which used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
"The people then surrounded the unit's headquarters in Baucau and stoned the place", Carrilho said.
The situation on Thursday was calmer, although a restaurant was looted and burned. The UN ordered all international personnel to concentrate at the district administration building.
Sources in Baucau told Lusa the situation by late afternoon was "calm but tense".
Population turns against Jordanian UN forces in Baucau
Source: RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 0900 gmt 8 Mar 01
Text of report by Portuguese radio on 8 March
[Presenter] There have been incidents in Baucau. Antonio Veladas reports:
[Reporter] The Baucau mosque was set alight by residents in retaliation for the actions of the Jordanian troops. In the last few days Baucau experienced moments of great tension after Jordanian troops became involved in a dispute between a village and residents of the Baucau market area. According to Dom Basilio do Nascimento [bishop of Baucau], the incidents were caused by a mistake made by the Jordanian forces who are part of Civpol. He believes the UNTAET [UN Transitional Administration in East Timor] should investigate the forces urgently because these incidents were caused by a mistake by the police and were intensified due to earlier actions by the Jordanians.
[Nascimento] The Jordanian troops instead of acting with a certain tact, arrived and started arresting the innocent. Those who were defending themselves from others were the ones who were arrested. And those who started the dispute were not arrested. People felt that as they [Jordanians] knew exactly who they [attackers] were why did they not arrest them and arrested us instead. This had a snowball effect. They [attackers] took advantage of the existing ill feeling towards the Jordanian forces. Apparently they [Jordanians] have been involved in some excesses, for example buying things and not paying. I have heard that they would buy three cans of beer and pay one dollar, the price of one can - and take three. When they bought clothes they would pay for one garment and take another two or three.
[Reporter] Dom Basilio do Nascimento has told us that this morning he had received a complaint that a woman had been raped by the Jordanians. He has ordered an investigation into this accusation. In the last few days the population has rebelled against the Jordanian forces in Baucau. They set fire to the mosque and a Civpol jeep. They have inflicted considerable damage on other UN vehicles. Yesterday morning the Jordanians were attacked by the population near a school with Portuguese teachers. The Jordanians fired warning shots to disperse the crowd. Today the situation is returning to normal. The bishop said there were no political motives behind the incidents.
Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/