Saturday, May 27, 2006

East Timor descends into chaos

Armed gangs rule the streets in East Timor, and the country's prime minister, Mari Alkatiri says its all part of a coup plot against his government.

Alkatiri even hinted that President Xanana Gusmao, might be behind the effort to oust him.

Residents flee fighting in Dili, capital of East Timor, on May 27.
Residents flee fighting in Dili, capital of East Timor, on May 27. AP photo from Yahoo News.

In response to the violence, the United Nations said it was evacuating hundreds of non-essential staff from the country.

The presence of foreign troops has not helped the situation in a nation divided by regionalism, ethnicty and many other factors.

Fighting between rebel and loyal soldiers now seems to have given way to clashes between armed gangs. Some of the violence appears linked to the regional division between east and west sections of the country, but there is also evidence of reprisal against families loyal to the old Indonesian government.

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