06 July 2013

Police slow to act against gang violence in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 6 July 2013 - East Timor's peak security sectormonitoring NGO, Fundasaun Mahein (FM), has reported on further recent violence between the so-called "martial arts" gangs in the capital Dili.

According to the FM report, on Monday 1 July 2013 at approximately 9-10 pm in Marconi (the area behind Dili Beach Hotel and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) two opposing martial arts gangs gathered to fight one another. The gathering was reportedly related to events from earlier in the day, when the body of a young Timorese man killed in Indonesia arrived in Timor-Leste.

The police reportedly arrived late to the scene, even though they had been called hours earlier as the teenagers began to gather.

Fundasaun Mahein recommends in its report that the police should be proactive in such situations with potential for conflict. This was clearly a planned incident. Everybody in the community knew this was happening, and it was at the end of an already-eventful day, so why was there no preventative action? It is not good to make community members concerned in the middle of the night.

Additionally, Fundasaun Mahein recommended that local community members that should stay in their houses and call their local police immediately if they should witness this type of negative gathering. The police can be reached at the phone number 7300-0112, and general emergencies should be directed to the phone number 112.

If injuries have already occurred, the phone number for Guido Valaderes National Hospital is 331-1088. Private clinics also exist, and Stamford Medical can be reached at 331-0141 while Aspen Medical can be reached at 331-1517. The phone country code for Timor-Leste is +670.

Fundasaun Mahein also recommended in its report that international residents contact their embassies for a phone number for 24-hour assistance (if available), in case a conflict-related incident should happen after regular business hours. Source: Fundasaun Mahein 3/07/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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