Violence in East Timor leaves at least 2 soldiers wounded
Front page / World
05/23/2006 13:53 Source:
Violence flared in East Timor's capital Tuesday with firefights between dismissed soldiers and the military leaving at least two security forces wounded, one of them critically.
Australia, which led a UN-military force into East Timor in 1999 to end violence after the former Indonesian province voted for independence from Jakarta, offered to send troops again if the fledgling country's government requests help.
Gunfire erupted on the outskirts of Dili on Tuesday, apparently from nearby hills where the ex-soldiers have set up makeshift camps. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw two soldiers being loaded onto a military ambulance to be shuttled to hospital.
"We have arrested dozens of people" as a result of the clashes, Maj. Domingos da Camara told The Associated Press.
A hospital emergency ward official, Americo Sarmento, said one soldier was in critical condition with a head wound, while the second had been shot in the left thigh.
East Timor has been plagued by unrest since the dismissal earlier this year of nearly 600 soldiers who went on strike to contest alleged discrimination and poor working conditions.
The former soldiers, who had made up a third of the army, threatened to wage guerrilla warfare if the government and military leadership refused to reinstate them.
The dispute escalated into riots last month that killed five, destroyed more than 100 houses and businesses, and forced thousands of residents to flee to surrounding villages.
But the situation had been relatively calm until last weekend when six people were injured and eight properties torched during Independence Day celebrations.
On Tuesday, Police spoke in radio transmissions of at least three shooting incidents across the capital.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Parliament he had been in contact with his East Timorese counterpart, Jose Ramos-Horta and the Australian Embassy, reports the AP.
To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)