21 March 2013
Police continue forced returns of CPD-RDTL members
ETLJB 21 March 2013 - The East Timor police have continued their operations against the dissident political group, CPD-RDTL, which has illegally occupied land to undertake cooperative cultivation activities and whose members have continued to wear military-style uniforms and to bear arms in the southern region of the country. There have been more than 800 of CPD-RDTL members based in Welaluhu for about four months causing distress to local communities and defying the State's attempts to have them voluntarily move out of the area.
According to an English translation of a report on Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste on 19 March 2013, Tetun, some of CPD-RDTL members refused to return, but the police approached them to leave and were provided with humanitarian aid and medical assistance.
Police Commander Afonso dos Santos was reported by RTT as saying that the police action to return members of CPD-RDTL to their respective districts was based on a resolution of the Government and had to be undertaken without violence.
But according to another report in leading newspaper, Suara Timor Lorosae on the same day, the Coordinator of CPD-RDTL, Mario dos Reis, said that the organisation would continue doing their cooperative activities in Welaluhu despite facing unfair treatment from the Timorese National Police (PNTL).
"We have a commission to monitor PNTL's activities. They did not state Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's direction not to use violence or destroy CPD-RDTL's activities but in fact they destroyed 18 hectares of their rice field," he said. But the RTT report stated that the rice and corn fields had been handed over to local authorities to take care of them.
Reis said they would not leave Welaluhu because some members of CPD-RDTL were being detained in the Covalima Police station.
Meanwhile, Diario Nacional reported on 20 March 2013 that a spokesperson for CPD-RDTL, Gil Fernandes, had publicly expressed concerns about the Timorese National Police (PNTL) intervention as the PNTL members intervention was tainted with brutality.
“We are calling on President of the Republic Taur Matan Ruak and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to jail police officers who act with brutality against CPD-RDTL members,” he said. Fernandes was also reported to have said that CPD-RDTL continues to reject the resolution of the Government to return its members from Welaluhu as their activity aim to increase economic growth in Timor-Leste. Sources: RTTL 19/03/2013, Suara Timor Lorosae 19/03/2013, Diario Nacional 20/03/2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright
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