The U.S. embassy in Dili, East Timor, is warning American citizens of increasing security measures in the tiny, resource-rich country. Timor’s police have set up checkpoints to search for illegal weapons and, apparently, Indonesian infiltrators. “Please be aware of your surroundings,” the embassy advised in an email.
Eight months after rebel assassins shot and wounded new president Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor, one of the world’s newest countries, is no closer to lasting security. On the street level, rebels, bandits and youth gangs are persistent threats. Higher up, the country is squabbling with Australia over access to $90-billion worth of oil and natural gas off East Timor’s coast. The oil and gas lie in a field that both East Timor and Australia claim. Both countries want the pipeline to terminate on their soil, for obvious reasons.
Meanwhile, Timorese police have threatened to rebel over pay and promotion issues. The same issues two years ago resulted in shootouts in Dili that killed several policemen (pictured). In light of the continuing unrest, Australia has ruled out withdrawing its 1,000 peacekeeping troops.
(Photo: via me)
East Timor series