06 October 2012

Armed Forces Chief says Those Who Provoke the Armed Forces are the Nation's Enemies

ETLJB 06 October 2012 - Last month, ETLJB published an article about the tension between the community and the East Timorese security institutions, the police and the military following an assault on 4 September 2012 by members of the East Timor Defence Force on a civilian security guard at a bar in Dili. That attack was allegedly perpetrated by the son of the Commander of the East Timor Defence Force, Major General Lere Anan Timor.

At that time, the security sector monitoring NGO, Fundasaun Mahein noted that that was the latest in a series of assaults on civilians by both the East Timor police and members of the country's military force and expressed concern that it would lead to increased violence against the police and the military. In fact, there has also been a series of unsolved killings of soldiers over the past year.

Prior to that latest attack on a civilian, Timor Post reported on 3 September that the Chief of the Armed Forces said that those people who keep provoking the armed forces will one day become equivalent to the enemies of the sovereign nation of Timor-Leste.

"As the commander I have seen one of my soldiers die. Morally I cannot allow it, so I say, the armed forces can be more delinquent than anyone in Timor-Leste, but because of their discipline they keep it within themselves, but if they keep being provoked then the time will come when you will be the enemies of nation and our sovereignty," Lere stated while speaking during a convivial meeting between the Suku of Fatuhada and the F-FDTL last Friday 31 August.

He told them that the situation that emerged during a recent incident involving many youths trying to test their delinquency. The armed forces can be more delinquent than anyone else but they are disciplined and this makes them not show their delinquency in the public.

Referring to the series of murders of military personnel, the Commander said "We Timorese are different, we see many members of the armed forces killed but until now we do not know who killed them.  It was not foreigners who killed them, it was other Timorese who killed them," Lere pointed out in sadness.

On this issue Lere asked the youth to think at this time of those who chose to serve in the armed forces, that they must respect the armed forces they have.

"We have to respect our armed forces, because they have sworn to give their life to this nation, whilst some people run away overseas. Whether they want it or not, our soldiers have to stay because they are in the armed forces.  If they run away in the future they will be arrested as criminals, and will be jailed.  Politicians and members of the armed forces do not have the same obligations," Lere explained.

Related stories:
Autopsy shows soldier killed with hammer and iron bar by relatives not stones
Investigation in stoning death of soldier begins
Soldier stoned to death in Timor-Leste
Soldier's body found on Dili beach 
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