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Worries Over E Timor Violence

A recent rise in violence and militia activity in East Timor has prompted United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to call for a delay in the phased withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the fledgling nation. The UN Mission of Support in East Timor has warned that well-trained militia groups pose a “real threat” to security in parts of the country. Despite the fanfare that greeted the country’s independence from Indonesia last May, the world’s newest nation has been beset by security problems. Hundreds of UN troops have recently been deployed to hunt down a group which attacked a bus, killing two civilians, on 24 February in the Maliana district bordering West Timor. We cannot continue to hear this broken record, citing Indonesia as a villain – Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa. Other recent incidents include an attack in January, when an armed gang killed six people in Atsabe district, and a riot in December in Dili which left two dead and destroyed dozens of buildings. Many in East Timor blame pro-Indonesian rebels for the attacks – the same rebels who were behind 1999 violence triggered by the overwhelming East Timorese vote for independence. Full Story

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