Subject: AFP: Four believed dead in more Timor violence

Four believed dead in more Timor violence

From correspondents in Dili

November 16, 2006 07:55pm Agence France-Presse

FOUR people are believed to have died in the latest East Timor violence which also saw 10 homes torched, Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta said today.

"There is as yet no confirmation on the number killed, but initial information said four (were killed) and 10 houses were set on fire," Mr Ramos Horta said.

Mr Ramos Horta, who travelled by helicopter to the scene of the latest unrest, said the incident happened "a couple of days ago" and involved two groups of youths who clashed in Estado village, near Ermera.

He said a group of youths belonging to Colimau 2000 - an organisation set up by former underground youth activists during Indonesia's occupation - from Ermera and several other outlying areas attacked a local chapter of a martial arts club.

"This incident has spread fear among the people and I have talked with the home minister so that a permanent security post can be set up there," Mr Ramos Horta said.

Members of the police rapid reaction unit and another special police unit would be sent to the area, he said.

As recently as Monday, hundreds of East Timorese youths, including members of rival gangs who fought each other in the streets of the capital earlier this year, held a rally to promote unity and peace.

Carlito de Jesus, 29, who was being treated at Dili's Guido Valadares general hospital for injuries sustained in the latest attack, said the violence occurred early yesterday.

He said some 600 youths from Colimau 2000 armed with samurais, machetes, spears, small arrows and rifles attacked the Ermera chapter of the Perguruan Setia Hati Terate (PSHT) martial arts club.

"This (attack) appears to be revenge, after a PSHT member beat up a member of Colimau 2000 on November 2," de Jesus, a PSHT member, said.

Members of Colimau 2000 were accused of involvement in attacks in Atsabe in 2003, which left seven dead. Mass arrests followed but the courts later freed those detained.

The incident came just after Mr Ramos Horta praised Monday's peace rally.

The tiny nation was rocked in April and May by violence in between security force factions, as well as street gangs, which left 37 people dead.

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