All quiet 5 more houses trashed

Hello everyone,

Anyone who believed the resignation of Prime Minister Alkatiri would solve the problems in Dili – and indeed in Timor Leste was sadly mistaken, of course there is the pretence that everything is fine, but sadly under cover of darkness the terror of anyone from Loro Sae, or indeed anyone from Loro Monu who tries to help continues.

Today in Loro Mato I heard again of houses being destroyed, indeed not only did I hear of it I went to Fatuhada to see the destruction. Five houses had been attacked, 4 houses belonging to people from Baucau, one house belonging to a family from Los Palos. Windows, doors and roofs had been broken, and in one house there was evidence of an attempted fire.

I was told that about 100 men had rampaged in Fatuhada between the hours of 11.30 and 4.00 o’clock, I say men not youths, it is time this word was laid to rest, my understanding of the word youth is people aged between 13 and 19, maybe up to 20, the term implies juvenile, I have heard people saying the young who have no jobs are responsible for the terror. This is even lauded as an excuse for the destruction, Alkatiri again being talked of in easy terms as the culprit for this, his policies somehow being seen as creating unemployment on a huge scale. Don’t want to get into a debate on whether his policies are responsible or not, just point out in capitalist societies there is huge unemployment, and lets be honest often gang fights – not much room for honesty these days.

The people who attacked Fatuahda terrifying sleeping families were men aged between 20 and 35 – perhaps we could get away with saying some of them were young men, but I prefer to say men who don’t care who they hurt in their quest for perhaps power, or maybe kicks. The houses they attacked were in fact empty, the people having run to the districts or displaced peoples camps on other occasions when their village was attacked. They were all in the same area.

The man who witnessed the attack told me, he and his family had just returned from Suai (west of Timor Leste) 3 days ago, they had heard it was safe now in Dili. I was told the men rampaging through Fatuahda woke him up, when he saw they were attacking friends houses he phoned the security forces. The Portuguese Police responded, they came in their vehicles, the attackers ran away, the police did not get out of their vehicles to chase and apprehend the men, who I am told ran in all directions, no they drove through the village. The men returned and started attacking houses again, the Portuguese Police, came back, this was repeated 4 times, the police eventually not bothering to come back, giving the attackers free reign to continue their rampage. . He left his house to try to reason with the men, he said ‘these houses belong to friends of mine, please don’t destroy them, they have struggled to build them,’ some of the thugs said, ‘do you want to die, if you don’t go.’ The witness said they were many and had bow and arrows, so he went back to his house, then ran to the beach with his wife and family, through a back entrance. They stayed there the rest of the night, they did not go back till the thugs left the village.

Tomorrow morning there is to be a demonstration, calling once again for Parliament to be dissolved. Are these instances linked, who knows, all I know is that for two days before the Fretilin demonstration there were check points all over Dili, there is not one check point to be seen today and there were none yesterday.

In another instance today, in daylight hours, Australian troops with big dogs ran 4 times through people at the airport, there were many women and children, their crime, waiting for family and friends to arrive from Bali. Women and children ran as the ADF, armed with Heckler and Koch Automatic guns, charged through them shouting ‘move, move, move,’. The dogs were jumping up snarling at the small children, their mad handlers had to restrain them. I asked one of the soldiers, ‘what’s the problem, are there reports of someone having guns or drugs, ‘ Guy, answered, ‘no its crowd control’, asked, ‘you are controlling people waiting for family, do you not think you should be controlling people who come to the displaced camp at the airport to throw stones instead.’ no answer. So much for Ian Martin’s agreement with me that it is wrong to have soldiers with big guns terrify civilians in Dili.

I was at the airport with family and friends to meet Sola, who was visibly distressed at the destruction he saw in Dili. Tina, British Ambassador was also there to meet her husband and children, she seems to think that there is no problem now in Dili, not sure who she gets her information from.

A few days ago my work colleague came back from visiting family in Oecusse, previously she had been living in a displaced camp, she decided it was time to go back to her home. When she got there found it was occupied by thugs who asked her what she was doing there. She said, ‘its my house’, they said, ‘not any more, go’ Her, and her family reluctantly complied. Tia, the cook at the co-operative canteen, also living in a displaced camp, told me last week her animals and furniture had been stolen from her house. She comes from Baucau. Houses, whose owners have run to the districts or live in displaced camps, thoughout Dili have been occupied by thugs.

Latest rumour to sweep Dili, the staff at La’o Hamutuk have guns. – a sure sign that we can expect a visit from the thugs in or out of uniform. This rumour was passed on to us by NGO’s.

That’s all for now.

Lidia -Dili

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