Friday, May 26, 2006

(East Timor Problems) Unarmed police killed in ambush

"26 May 2006 Dili--As a serious battle raged between elements of F-FDTL and members of the PNTL yesterday at the police headquarters in the centre of Dili, UN Senior Police and Military advisors were dispatched to help broker what they hoped would be a mutually agreed to cease-fire.

After negotiations with the F-FDTL Commander as well as their operational commander on the spot, it was agreed that FFDTL would allow PNTL safe passage from the area only if they laid down their weapons and left the compound on foot which they accepted.

Unarmed and relying on the protection afforded by the reputation of the blue flag of the United Nations, UN police and military training advisors bravely led their Timorese counterparts into what they believed was a peaceful resolution of a very volatile situation.

As the UN personnel led the group under the banner of a UN flag, F-FDTL military personnel opened fire. In the chaos, nine national police officers were killed, 27 were wounded, 18 critically. Two UN Police Officers were among the injured.

Saif Malik, the chief police-training advisor tried to diffuse the situation. “I said to the troops, ‘Brother, don’t shoot! Why are you shooting at these men? They are your brothers.’ But they went on shooting anyway.” Malik said.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General Sukehiro Hasegawa denounced the attack on unarmed individuals and United Nations personnel. “This incident represents a grave violation of human rights. The UN demands that immediate steps be taken to hold those responsible accountable for these atrocities.”

At the same time, he commended the actions of the UN police and military advisors.

“I stress that they were doing their jobs in a very difficult situation. With the promise of peace, these UN personnel risked their lives in their effort to counter this situation. Instead, they walked into what turned out to be an ambush that resulted in the tragic loss of many lives.”"

Source: UNOTIL Public Information Office
Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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