May 26 2006

Violence in East Timor

Feature Stories | Published 26 May 2006, 8:19 am | Comments Off on Violence in East Timor -

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East TimorGUEST: Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

Foreign troops in East Timor struggled today to stave off what media are calling a civil war in the South East Asian island nation. Soldiers gunned down unarmed police in the capital, Dili, and a mob torched houses in the past day. At least 20 people have been killed in four days of violence. The violence is an apparent response to the government’s decision earlier this year to fire 600 soldiers after they staged a month-long strike complaining of poor pay and discrimination. In the aftermath of a bloody occupation by neighboring Indonesia, the United Nations had spent millions of dollars after 1999 to train the Timorese army and set up an infrastructure in the country. Meanwhile, the US based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) urged the US Congress to restore restrictions on military assistance for Indonesia in next year’s 2007 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

For more information, visit www.etan.org.

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