16 February 2013

Four killed, houses burned in gang-related violence in Samalete Village, Ermera

ETLJB 16 February 2013 - Four people have been murdered and several houses have been destroyed in an outbreak of gang-related violence in the village of Samalete in Ermera District in East Timor. It is believed that so-called "martial arts groups" members are the perpetrators of the violence. The martial arts groups are essentially criminal gangs who have a long history of disturbing the civil peace and terrorising communities in East Timor which successive governments have been unable or unwilling to stop.

The violence occurred on 6  February 2013. Police have detained 34 individuals suspected of involvement in the violence and are searching for two others.The police have also set up a temporary post at Aldeia II in Samalete Village, Railaco Sub district of Ermera District to continue control and monitor the area after the incident.

The Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Mgr. Bazilio do Nascimento, is reported to have attributed the violence to martial arts groups in Ermera District.

“The objective of martial arts should not be to murder each other or destroy the property of others because both such actions are violations of our law', the Bishop is reported to have said. He accused the martial arts groups of creating instability in the country and appealed to the youth who are involved in the groups to reconcile because criminal acts do not resolve any problems.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Lasama, has also called on the police to arrest everyone involved in the case.

Sources: Radio Televizaun de Timor-Leste 14/02/2013; February 14, 2013; Suara Timor Lorosae 15/02/2013,  Diario 13/02/2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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