17 August 2013

East Timor Probes Gun Deal with Indonesia

ETLJB 17 August 2013 Dili - The East Timor National Parliament urges its government to immediately complete the investigation over the procurement of 77 MP1-V2 firearms from an Indonesian company, Pindad Indonesia. An independent commission has been investigating the weapons deal for a year now, yet there has been no result.

"The Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Guterres, must immediately complete the investigation. The gun procurement did not go through [proper] procedures. The price is also still unknown," said Cesar Valente, member of East Timor's Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Commission, Tuesday, July 30.

The National Parliament, said Cesar, had no knowledge of the gun procurement done by National Police Commander Longuinhos Monteiro. The unclear purchase process is suspected to have been triggered by the lack of communication and coordination between Longuinhos Monteiro and Francisco Guterres. "There might be a conflict between the two," he said.

Cesar suspects that firearms are already in the hands of police officers stationed at the East Timor- Indonesia border.

Francisco Guterres said that the Parliament had actually passed a budget to buy weapons from Indonesia. However, the purchase was without the knowledge and consent of the Council of Ministers-- which was then led by Xanana Gusmao. All of the sudden, the guns entered East Timor through Dili customs.

To uncover the mystery surrounding the gun procurement, Francisco Guterres established an independent commission in 2012. "The process of investigation is still ongoing," Guterres said in Dili on Tuesday. He ensured that all weapons are still being held in custody. Source: July 31, 2013 Tempo.co Edited by Warren L. Wright

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