[Easttimorstudies] A view from the other side of the riots andshootings

Lisualdo Gaspar ltgaspar at mnec.gov-tl.net
Thu May 4 14:45:11 EST 2006

Dear All,

It is always good to hear the first account from people on the ground.

There are some legitimate claims from Dr. Jacque's email however many claims 
are groundless.

I am sure that some people took this opportunity for personal gains by 
increasing the price of goods in Dili, which Dr. Jacque rightly said. 
However Dr. J claims that all civil servants have fled to districts is 
baseless and nonsense. Due to the nature of the work at the Embassy, I have 
a daily contact with my Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Planning and Finance, 
Customs and Education  and others and established that the officers are 
reporting back since Tuesday. A part from that I do have my relatives and 
friends in Dili, whom I contact them to check their conditions, which some 
of them are Dr. Jacque's students and they are in Dili not even fled 
anywhere during last week's riot.

Indeed the situation in Dili at the moment is still tense but overall is 
calm and peaceful and under control. As Dr. J pointed out that restaurants 
are re-opening, and other business.

In regards, to the Government's response to the incident, the government 
requesting the dismissed soldiers to return and cooperate with the 
Commission of Investigation, which is established to investigate and reveal 
of the truth of the dismissed soldiers' grievances. They are not hunted like 
Dr. J's claims. The Government also established two separate commissions. 
One will look at assisting those who lost their property or in any other way 
were affected by the vandalism.  The second will verify the details about 
the number and identity of the dead and injured which has been the subject 
of rumours.

Anyone in Timor who knows Dr. Jacque will know exactly why she is getting 
too personal in attacking the Government and exaggerating the situation.

Best regards,
Lisualdo Gaspar
Embassy of Timor-Leste in Canberra

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Damien Kingsbury" <dlk at deakin.edu.au>
To: <Easttimorstudies at anu.edu.au>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:10 PM
Subject: [Easttimorstudies] A view from the other side of the riots 

> Dear All,
> This arrived from Dr Jacqueline Siapno a short time ago. It may be of 
> interest.
> Damien
> Dear folks,
> I was able to find access to internet today (we are not in Dili, but in
> the mountains/districts). Please kindly help me/us by trying to get
> alternative information out. According to the government version, only 5
> people have died, and 75 wounded. According to the
> petitioners/demonstrators version, 67 people have been killed by, possibly
> a hundred. In my previous e-mail, I only reported the 8,000 IDPs in Don
> Bosco, who refuse to go home despite a press release from Ramos-Horta that
> everything is now "normal, and under control." On the contrary. A UN
> Adviser to the government called me yesterday saying that things are
> exactly the opposite: nothing is "under control". Civil servants have
> stopped going to work -- they have all fled to the districts to seek
> refuge. Only the international advisers are still going to their offices.
> So how could things be "under control" if offices are empty? Dili is very
> quiet -- it is almost empty of population. Restaurants are telling their
> clients to hurry up eating, they want to close early at night.
> The severe political divisions have now spread to horizontal conflict
> between Loromonu/ Lorosae, which initially began as conflict between the
> National Police and F-FDTL. This extremely arrogant and incompetent
> government, due to its inability to solve what could have been a
> manageable problem, has escalated things to this crisis. The
> petitioners/demonstrators who peacefully rallied for one week, up to
> mid-noon last Friday, are now being hunted down and shot as "criminals" --
> major violations of international human rights laws.
> Don't believe what RTTL tells you about displacement only in Dili. There
> are large numbers of "hidden displacement" -- including ourselves.
> Thousands of people are fleeing to the districts, but because they are not
> in IDP camps (e.g. Don Bosco, the US Embassy -- who've sent everyone home,
> or almost everyone -- even UNMISET Political Officers became IDPs in the
> US Embassy, how ironic, as apparently the UN has no security briefing or
> strategy)these hidden displacements are unseen.
> While officials above keep saying things are now "normal", "come down" --
> the situation in the districts is very tense. Nobody wants to come down.
> The situation in the mountains is difficult: we ran quickly, so we have no
> provisions, no money. Rice is now costing US$20 instead of $12; mobile
> phone cards are US$12 instead of $10. Gas/car bensin is now $1.50 per
> liter instead of $1. Opportunists are taking advantage of the situation to
> make profit.
> On the macro level -- the government has been quiet, and according to
> their own int'l. advisers -- seem to have no plans to resolve this
> situation or negotiate peacefully with the petitioners.
> Predictions are that things may get worse.
> Please help us to mobilize news internationally/outside. Especially
> alternative news/perspectives. My mobile here is: +670-727-0481, but we do
> not always have a signal.
> I may not be able to access internet again so soon.
> Warmest regards,
> J
> P.S. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and well-wishes. I hope we
> can go home to our house in Dili soon, safely. Please pray for us. I am
> most worried about Hadomi and the other small children, as they cannot run
> as fast, in case this conflict gets a lot worse. People are preparing to
> climb up higher in the mountains. Please don't believe everything the
> government tells you -- try to seek alternative news/info -- especially
> from the petitioners/demonstrators side.
> Associate Professor Damien Kingsbury
> Director, Masters of International and Community Development
> School of International and Political Studies
> Deakin University
> Ph: +61(0)439638834
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