Subject: UN convoy attacked in East Timor amid ongoing political violence

Also Gangs Attack Convent, Child Killed in E. Timor

UN convoy attacked in East Timor amid ongoing political violence

The Associated Press

Published: August 11, 2007

DILI, East Timor: Unidentified assailants opened fire on a U.N. convoy in East Timor amid ongoing violence following the appointment of resistance fighter Xanana Gusmao as prime minister, the United Nations and police said Saturday.

None of the 10 people traveling in the three-car convoy was injured in the attack Friday, but one of the cars caught fire, the United Nations said in a statement.

Local police commander Pedro Belo said U.N. police officers traveling with the convoy returned fire and blood on the ground close to the ambush site indicated that one of the attackers had been hit.

At least 12 people have been injured and 120 houses set alight in unrest since Gusmao was appointed prime minister on Monday, following June elections that ended with no party winning an overall majority.

The violence has mostly involved young men torching unoccupied buildings, throwing stones at U.N. vehicles and setting up roadblocks in areas loyal to the sidelined former ruling party, Fretilin.



Gangs Attack Convent, Child Killed in E. Timor


By Tito Belo

DILI, Aug 11(Reuters) - Armed gangs assaulted women students in a Catholic convent in East Timor, including a 12-year-old, a priest said on Saturday, in a wave of ethnic and political violence triggered by the appointment of a new government.

The crowd vandalized buildings and smashed properties at the Salesian Don Bosco convent in the eastern district of Baucau late on Friday, said head of the convent, Basilio Maria Ximenes.

The mob also sexually assaulted several female students, including a 12-year-old, he said. The convent offers elementary and secondary education for poor children.

"Those young people who consider priests, nuns and the Catholic Church as their enemies, not only raped my students but also damaged and destroyed Salesian's elementary school," he said.

Baucau police chief Pedro Belo said he had deployed personnel to investigate the incident and arrest the perpetrators.

Separately, a child died in the district of Viqueque because of the violence, government spokesman Hermenegildo Pereira told reporters, the first known fatality since the attacks began out last week. He did not give more details.

Violence has erupted across Timor since President Jose Ramos-Horta appointed a coalition last week led by independence hero Xanana Gusmao to govern after no single party won a majority in parliamentary election more than a month ago.

Ramos-Horta's decision sparked violent protests by supporters of the former ruling party, Fretilin, which claims the right to govern after winning most votes in the June 30 polls.

It has branded the president's move as unconstitutional and pledged to boycott the new government, which was installed on Wednesday with Gusmao appointed as prime minister.

Factional bloodshed broke out in the impoverished country of about 1 million people last year, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

The mayhem, during which 37 people were killed, was triggered by the previous government's decision to sack 600 soldiers.

About 3,000 international police and troops are currently in East Timor to restore order.

Convent head Ximenes said he believed the attackers at his convent were supporters of the former ruling Fretilin party.

"Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao is very disappointed with this situation in which a child was killed because of this conflict and with what happened last night at the Salesian convent," government spokesman Hermenegildo Pereira said.

"This is shameful for us as a sovereign country that professes Christianity."

The United Mission in East Timor said police had arrested 13 people in connection with an attack on a U.N. convoy on Friday.

U.N. mission chief Atul Khare said the attacks were carried out by people carrying Fretilin flags.

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