Subject: Brazilian missionary killed in Timor violence

Brazilian missionary killed in Timor violence

20 Nov 2006 08:07:34 GMT


DILI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A Brazilian missionary has been killed after being caught up in communal fighting in East Timor's capital, a U.N. spokeswoman and a government statement said on Monday.

The spokeswoman confirmed the death but could give no more details on the incident, which happened late on Sunday.

"The U.N. police are gathering up the details, the investigation is ongoing at the moment," Donna Cusumano said by telephone from Dili.

A statement from the prime minister's office named the victim as 32-year-old Edgar Goncalves Brito, a protestant missionary from the Assembly of God, although did not elaborate on how he died.

Australian Associated Press reported he died when a large group attacked his car as he was driving near East Timor's main hospital in Dili.

The agency said rival groups had been involved in clashes around and inside the hospital grounds since Friday, wounding 15 people, including five with arrows lodged in their bodies and three with bullet wounds.

Battles among gangs of youths are common in the impoverished country, which only gained full independence from Indonesia in 2002 and where youth unemployment is widespread.

Last month, authorities were forced to shut Dili's international airport after gang clashes, involving guns and bows and arrows, killed at least two people

The former Portuguese colony has been struggling to return to stability after plunging into chaos in April and May when a series of protests developed into widespread violence after 600 members of the 1,400-strong army were sacked.

An estimated 100,000 people were displaced in the fighting, which led to deployment of a 2,500-strong international peacekeeping force.

A strengthened police element in the force has so far struggled to contain the sporadic violence.

(Additional reporting by Harry Suhartono)

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