Subject: Lusa: Police detain 26 after deadly clashes among martial arts gangs

Police detain 26 after deadly clashes among martial arts gangs

Dili, June 22 (Lusa) - East Timor's newly autonomous police force have detained 26 people after two recent incidents of mob violence involving martial arts groups that left four people dead, officials and newspapers said Tuesday.

Police Superintendent Paulo Martins told Lusa that riot police detained 24 suspects in the days following deadly clashes June 15 between two rival martial arts gangs in the village of Urahu, 50 kilometers from Dili.

Four people, including a 70-year-old man, were killed in the Urahu melee, Martins said.

Dili newspapers also reported that police detained two men Saturday after a three-car police convoy was attacked on the road between Ainaro and Suai, south of the capital, by suspected members of a martial arts group.

President Xanana Gusmão has appealed in the past for the authorities to create a legal framework and help organize events for martial arts groups in an effort to preempt them from sliding into thuggery and criminal activity.

East Timor's police and Defense Force assumed full security and defense responsibilities from UN forces on May 20, the second anniversary of the country's independence.


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