24 April 2013

Lost Weapons and Other Weapons Issues in Timor-Leste

ETLJB - Fundasaun Mahein, 23 April 2013 Press Release - Mahein’s Voice Report No. 49 analyzes lost weapons and other weapons issues in Timor-Leste. Historically, weapons usage has caused panic among the populace and can \be considered an issue of public security. This report attempts to expand the space for debate and public participation in matters relating to the existence of lost weapons in East Timor. Weapons began to be lost during the 2006 crisis, and continued to go missing through 2012. Separately, the Government, through the PNTL General Commander, bought controversial weapons from the PINDAD company of Indonesia.

Some members of the national media have reported that some of the missing weapons from the 2006 crises have been found, but as of now the government and the national parliament have released no official information on the matter. FM observed that in 2011 the ministry of defense and security established investigative processes for the missing F-FDTL and PNTL weapons from the 2006 crisis. The Ministry of Defense and Security has yet to release the results of that commission, even though the mandate of that investigative commission is over. Yet FM has observed some documents cite recommendations from that investigative commission.

The lost weapons from 2006 remain unsolved, but the history of missing police weapons deepened again in mid-2012. Even though a PNTL officer was ultimately dismissed from the PNTL for the incident, the current location of the lost weapon from 2012 remains unclear. At the time of the incident, the Secretary of State for Security and the PNTL General Commander directed responsibility for recovering the lost weapon at each another – to no result. FM considers the unsolved status of the lost weapons a result of the bad weapons management system in East Timor, and FM believes that it is very risky for the government of East Timor to continue importing such weapons.

In 2012, the government imported weapons for the PNTL through the PINDAD company of Indonesia. These imported weapons have since become a major public issue in society. FM, at the time of the incident, decried the lack of transparency in weapons transactions in Timor-Leste. FM noted in the report that the PNTL General Commander, Longuinhos, direct that the weapons in the port were not to undergo a check by airport customs, but rather were to be brought directly to the PNTL. To these actions, the Secretary of State for Security replied that this was not his responsibility but was the responsibility of the PNFL General Commander Longuinhos.

On 3 September 2012 the PNTL General Commander publicly announced the weapons transaction between the Commandant General of PNTL and the PINDAD Company of Indonesia. The imported weapons totaled 75 weapons with the serial number 0001 up to 00075, and the PNTL were to have been the first users in the world of these brand new weapons. One of the many issues with this weapons purchase is that the weapons of type PM2-V1 is considered the weapon of the Indonesia Forest Guard. The PNTL General Commander Longuinhos rejected this assertion and announced that the weapons of type PM2-VI was designed by him. But FM has collected data that the FM2-VI weapons is used by the Indonesia Forest Guard. It is declared as such by the PINDAD Company: http://www.pindad.com/showpro1.php?p=2&u=1>.

Other issues with PNTL continued to arise later in 2012 with the case of the five weapons of poor quality. On 30 November 2012, the national media reported that the Weapons Tester – supported by the Secretary of State for Security, Committee B of the National Parliament, the PNTL and the F-FDTL as led by the General Director of the Secretary of State for Security – was headed to Jakarta. FM considers the Weapons Tester not a person of good quality.

Committee B of the National Parliament has not yet accept these results, and the Council has not yet approved the weapons that were imported but the PNTL General Commander into Timor-Leste and that he already declared publicly as weapons present in Timor-Leste. Therefore, the Secretary of State for Security and Committee B of the National Parliament should consider these weapons as illegal because they have not yet received the proper authorization and approval.

Recommendations:

1. Recommendation to the Ministry of Defense and Security to improve the quality of weapons management and control mechanisms to prevent future irregularity.

2. Recommendation to the National Parliament to continue insisting that the government establish an investigative commission for the illegal weapons imported in 2012 and still present in 2013.

3. Recommendation to the Ministry of Defense and Security to publish the recommendations of the investigative commission regarding the lost weapons of PNTL and F-FDTL from 2006.

4. Recommendation to the PNTL General Commander to find the lost weapons from 2012 that remain lost.

5. Recommendation to the government to establish a Public Company that handles the importation of weapons into Timor-Leste.

6. Recommendation to the PNTL General Commander to establish a firm law for PNTL officers to only use their weapons while on the job, and not allow PNTL officers to carry weapons while the officer not on duty. Source: Fundasaun Mahein Press Release 23/04/2013 http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2013/04/23/paradeiru-kilat-ne%E2%80%99ebe-lakon-la-klaru-no-polemika-kilat-iha-timor-leste/

Related stories (these links added by ETLJB)
Missing police weapon turns up in Prime Minister's possession
PNTL Loses Weapons: Commander Longuinos Monteiro In Charge
Management and Mismanagement of Police Weapons
Military chief calls for immediate dismissal of Police Commissioner
PNTL buys PINDAD weapons and PNTL Intelligence Commander loses his semiautomatic assault rifle
No transparency in government purchase of weapons from Indonesia
Timor-Leste: Civil Society and Media Keeping Track of Guns
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